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Sanctions levied for marijuana-related violations

While Maryland has certain provisions allowing for the possession and use of medical marijuana, an individual who is convicted of a marijuana-related crime in the state might face a number of sanctions that can vary based on a variety of factors. Some drug charges result in mandatory minimum sentence, and those convicted for those violations are ineligible for parole.

Possession violations include two major categories. The first is possession for personal use, and those infractions are usually designated as misdemeanors. Penalties upon conviction include incarceration periods ranging from 90 days to 1 year and fines of up to $1,000. The severity of these sanctions is based in the amount of marijuana involved in the case. The second category is possession with intent to distribute. These violations are considered felonies, and the penalties, which can include prison terms of up to 40 years and fines of up to $1,000,000, might vary depending on the incident’s proximity to a school or the level of the defendant’s involvement in the distribution of the substance.

Maryland law also prohibits the possession and sale of paraphernalia associated with the use of marijuana. A simple possession charge might result in an incarceration period of one year and a fine of up to $1,000. The incarceration sentence for selling paraphernalia varies from two to eight years depending on the defendant’s age and the age of the individual purchasing the item.

Convictions on marijuana-related charges, especially those that are designated as felonies, can have serious consequences on an individual’s future. However, a defendant might be able to build a defense that seeks an acquittal or mitigated sanctions. A criminal defense attorney who is familiar with marijuana- and paraphernalia-possession laws might be able to represent a defendant during court hearings and plea negotiations with the prosecution.

Source:, “Maryland Laws & Penalties”, July 11, 2014

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