Maryland Marijuana Legalization Hearing Today in Annapolis

Maryland Marijuana Legalization Hearing Today in Annapolis

ANNAPOLIS, MD – State lawmakers will host a hearing today 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.

If passed, House Bill 1453, sponsored by Del. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City), 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.

The bill allows cities and towns the right to regulate marijuana businesses, and it would remain illegal to use marijuana in public or drive under the influence of marijuana.

Members of the House Committee on the Judiciary are expected to hear testimony on the bill at 1:00 pm today.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) will be among a number of advocacy groups in Annapolis to testify in favor of House Bill 1453, which seeks to legalize and regulate adult marijuana consumption in Maryland.

“It is time for Maryland lawmakers to give serious consideration to this proposal,” says NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre, who will be testifying at the hearing. “Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition and replacing it with regulation.”

“Despite more than 70 years of federal marijuana prohibition, Americans’ consumption of and demand for cannabis is here to stay. It is time for state lawmakers to acknowledge this reality,” St. Pierre continued. “It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and it is time for lawmakers to impose common-sense regulations governing cannabis’ personal use by adults and licensing its production. A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for limited, licensed production and sale of cannabis to adults – but restricts use among young people – best reduces the risks associated with its use or 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.”

Yesterday, members of the Senate were expected to vote on a separate bill, SB 297, that would decriminalize possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana. That vote has been postponed, but is expected sometime this week.

Maryland is one of ten states that is debating legislation to legalize cannabis use this year.  Nearly a dozen states are also considering decriminalization measures.

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.

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  • ElizD

    Its time Maryland lawmakers seriously consider this. Several states allow you to grow your own at home, with up to six plants. My family members are growing it in California, Colorado, and Washington without having to go anywhere to get it. This alone will slow the crime they are afraid of, dealing and trafficking. My brother uses an LED device, and I have never seen any buds grow like them. http://www.home-gro.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/Rocrell Terrell Bracken

    im glad to hear about this . it is time to look at this seriously. its really easy to see alcohol poses more as threat to people thant marijuana . the state and nation having it illegal isnt going to stop the use of it .

  • Marywana

    im in high school and i can honestly say i can get weed as easily as a snack from the vending machine. you dont see kids selling alcohol in the washrooms

    • Dillon Main

      the truth !

  • Marywana

    im in high school and i can honestly say i can get weed as easily as a snack from the vending machine. you dont see kids selling alcohol in the washrooms

  • Bill

    “Tax revenue would go to fund treatment programs to prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse.” Are they kidding????? Programs to treat abuse by increasing abuse???!!!! What a bunch of BULLS***!!!!!!! The Bastards are doing this to increase tax revenues… What a joke!!! Wake up people. Get out of your Weed induced artificial states and find meaning in life. This bill will create Drug Addicts out of otherwise law abiding folks that would not have tried it under current law…. Our liberal government are a bunch of clueless, self serving idiots. If passed, this will be a disaster..

    • Mar

      Shouldn’t conservatives be on board with this? or at least for decriminalizing marijuana? Smoking weed is no more risky (actually less risky) than drinking. You’re much less likely to become dependent on pot, you’re not going to become violent and out of control, and you can’t die from an overdose. This bill will not create “Drug Addicts”. People who want to smoke weed will continue smoking weed, and won’t have to worry about going to jail (and waisting tax payer money) and instead of the money going to the drug cartels, the money will be used for something at least SLIGHTLY better for society as a whole. And those law abiding folks who decide to try pot when it’s legal will still be law abiding folks! ;-)

    • Black Ops

      Anyone that wants to smoke will smoke. The fact that it’s illegal isn’t stopping anyone, especially teens. That’s like saying someone underage that wants to drink won’t do it because it’s illegal. If you believe that stops them you are clueless. If anything it’s easier for kids to get weed than liquor and getting liquor is easy!

      • GW

        Teens getting liquor is easy; but stupid! Same with pot.

    • BenthEMAN

      Ok, your right. Its much better to drink till you black out and loose control of your memory and actions and end up driving and killing someone. Because thats what is acceptable in our country! Some people even with the best intentions on alcohol just loose all grasp on reality and don’t know what they are doing till they wake up in a cell with no idea how they got there. But thats ok because alcohol is safe right? THen you end up in rehab on your own tab since their is no money coming in to help you with you life’s problems. Alcohol is the ONLY drug you can DIE from withdraw did you know that!(and it is definitely a drug!) Good plan! No just throw the otherwise fully functional pot head in jail who works hard everyday to maintain the life they choose, not even giving them a chance to maybe one day better themselves. Why quit one day and better yourself when your record is tainted with a bogus NON-VIOLENT criminal charge. Its a heartless law that is really about someone else’s personal choice that does not effect anyone in a negative way but the person making that choice. Maybe more people should smoke if that means less people drinking alcohol which is much worse on the person and the the people around them.

      • GW

        Trouble is, they do both smoke and drink. That’s not good.

    • J

      Do some more research because the only reason it was maxe illegal is due to it cutting into the timber industries profit because cannabis hemp worked better as paper then wood. It is also the type of paper the declaration of independence is written on but i guess the founding farthers were a bunch of drug addicts.

      • thedizzle

        You should probably do a little more research… The hemp/paper industry thing was an embellishment to a racist’s diabolical plan to usurp the Constitution and make criminals out of blacks and hispanics. Now THAT is historical fact!

      • GW

        Then they should make paper out of all of it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pa-Guy/100001223835810 Pa Guy

    i was there. The elected representatives refuse to drop the drug warrior mentality of using legislation to dictate public morality.

    • GW

      You do not believe in public morality?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Malcolm-Kyle/100001700224506 Malcolm Kyle

    The National Firearms Act of 1934 was actually a direct response to the acute rise in prohibition (1919-33) engendered gun violence.

    PROHIBITION EQUATES TO MORE VIOLENT CRIME WHICH LEADS TO MORE CALLS FOR GUN CONTROL

    The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada reviewed 15 studies that evaluated the association between violence and drug law enforcement. “Our findings suggest that increasing drug law enforcement is unlikely to reduce drug market violence. Instead, the existing evidence base suggests that gun violence and high homicide rates may be an inevitable consequence of drug prohibition and that disrupting drug markets can paradoxically increase violence.”

    During alcohol prohibition all profits went to enrich criminals and corrupt politicians. Young men, while battling over turf, died every day on inner-city streets. A vast fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on education. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally the economy collapsed! Sound familiar?

    Prohibitionists and their gun-control criminal friends who live in a crack-house called Congress are having a ball. And it’s all on our tab.

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  • DecayingSociety

    A lazier society is just what we need right now. I look forward to getting hit by these losers on the highways.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1207487772 Fritz Cat

      I am trying to respond to this without calling the poster an idiot and it’s a difficult task. Have you even looked at the statistics of marijuana related traffic accidents? Were you drunk when you wrote this?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jose-Gonzales/100003694111815 Jose Gonzales

    Anyone who votes no gets voted out in their next election.

    • arkarian

      you got that right. I can’t believe my state, one of the strongest democratic states in the nation, is behind colorado and washington on this.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/harry.karas Harry Karas

    I am so glad about this! It do not make sense to send young people to jail and take critical resources out of the police to enforce law that is outdated and out of step

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  • Kharma2011

    Too bad they failed to vote on it. Must be nice to get paid and not fully do your job. Nice work ethic! Set that example!

  • Juliano Adante

    I dont believe private plant growth is needed, but It should be available on the shelf next to the alcohol, cigarettes and tylenol

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.klotz.77 Jamie Klotz

    I too support the legalization of marijuana bill 1453

  • GW

    I think Annapolis legislators should get their priorities in order!

  • VICK

    WHOOP WHOOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOON COME PPL….SOON COME

  • RAY

    In 1988 I was struck head on by a under the influence of marijuana driver.I am still dealing with my injuries today. Please do not drive under the influence or drunk. Also educate your children.A teens brain is not yet fully developed .

  • kennyc

    yep what can you actually do to kids, not a thing , and they know it and wont snitch and the people selling weed know that.this is why you should legalize , and regulate it. them catch the ones selling to children give them 20 yrs. to rethink their occupation.