Will this be the year that Maryland legalizes pot?
The state of Maryland has drastically altered its position toward marijuana over the past year, adopting a stance toward the drug that many observers would likely classify as “progressive.”
To illustrate, state lawmakers passed House Bill 881, which authorizes medical marijuana for those suffering from certain ailments, while the amended drug crime laws officially went into effect, such that those individuals found in possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana now face only a citation and a small fine.
These actions coupled with the results of a recent poll showing that as many as 53 percent of people now support legalization has many wondering whether Maryland will follow the example set by states like Colorado and Washington in legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana.
Indeed, elected officials from both the Colorado General Assembly and the City of Seattle came to Annapolis last Friday for a press conference held to drum up support for a bill legalizing marijuana in the Old Line State.
According to the Colorado lawmaker, the “sky hasn’t fallen” in his state, as pot usage among teens has not increased, driving under the influence of drugs cases have not increased and violent crime connected to drugs has not increased. In fact, he highlighted how legalization has brought the state millions in tax revenue.
Despite these possible benefits and the state’s recent actions toward marijuana, it appears as if full-blown legalization is still lacking the necessary support in both chambers of the General Assembly, which has shot down legalization bills on two prior occassions.
“In terms of making [marijuana] available to the general public,” said the Senate President. “I don’t anticipate that happening any time soon.”
It remains to be seen then whether a legalization bill is sponsored this year and, if so, whether the third time will prove to be the charm for marijuana advocates.
Be certain to contact an experienced legal professional as soon as possible if you are facing any sort of drug charges from possession to trafficking.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Maryland lawmakers take fresh run at legalizing marijuana,” Timothy Wheeler, Jan. 30, 2015