Hearing on First-Ever Bill to Regulate and Tax Marijuana in Maryland to be Held March 19
ANNAPOLIS, MD – State lawmakers have scheduled a hearing on the first-ever bill to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older in Maryland and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed like alcohol.
House Bill 1453, the bill sponsored by Del. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City) to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol, has been scheduled for a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 19.
If passed, the bill would make the private possession and home-cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older.
The bill would also direct the Maryland Comptroller to license marijuana retail stores, wholesale facilities, and testing facilities, and direct the Department of Agriculture to regulate the legal cultivation of industrial hemp.
Recreational marijuana would be subject to an excise tax of $50 per ounce on wholesale sales, in addition to standard state sales taxes paid by consumers. Tax revenue would go to fund treatment programs to prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse.
“Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it is far less harmful than alcohol for the consumer and the surrounding community,” said Dan Riffle, a former prosecutor now serving as deputy director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project. “It is less toxic, less addictive, and, unlike alcohol, does not contribute to violent crimes and reckless behavior.”
Under the proposed legislation, it would remain illegal to use marijuana in public or drive under the influence of marijuana.
The bill allows cities and towns the right to regulate marijuana businesses.
Last November, voters in Colorado and Washington State approved measures making marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and directing state regulatory bodies to create regulations for businesses to cultivate and sell marijuana to adults.
Bills to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol have also been introduced this year in theHawaii, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire state legislatures, and lawmakers in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Vermont are expected to bring forward similar legislation.