Marijuana Legalization Bill to be Introduced in Maryland

Marijuana Legalization Bill to be Introduced in Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Lawmakers in Maryland will introduce legislation early in 2014 to legalize the possession, cultivation, and retail sale of marijuana to adults, and has bi-partisan support in the Senate.

The proposed bill would remove all criminal and civil penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and allow the personal cultivation of up to 6 marijuana plants by those over the age of 21. The bill would also create a system of retail marijuana stores, cultivation facilities, and marijuana product manufacturers.

Lawmakers in Maryland failed to act on a similar proposal last year.

The bill is expected to be sponsored by Republican Senator Allan Kittleman and Democrat Senator Jamie Raskin.

While the bill has growing support among lawmakers in Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, said earlier this year that he is opposed to marijuana legalization in the state, which could slow the bill’s progress.

“I’ve seen what drug addiction has done to the people of our state and the people of our city,” O’Malley said during an interview with WEAA 88.9 FM.   O’Malley, who is term-limited and can not seek reelection, gained political prominence as the former tough-on-crime mayor of Baltimore being elected governor.

In the House, Delegate Heather Mizeur is in favor of legalizing marijuana in Maryland.  Mizeur is currently seeking the Democratic nomination to replace Governor O’Malley in November.

“A majority of Marylanders and Americans support the legalization of marijuana because of its impact on public safety and its ability to generate badly needed revenue for critical state priorities,” says Mizeur. “Legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana similar to the way we regulate alcohol will provide our state with increased revenue, enhance public safety, and improve environmental and economic outcomes.”

According to a 2013 ACLU report, Maryland is home to one of the highest rates of marijuana possession arrests of any state in the country. Maryland arrests over 23,000 individuals for simple marijuana possession every year, at the cost over of 100 million dollars.

The report also found that despite only constituting 30% of the state’s population and having similar use rates to their white counterparts, African Americans account for 58% of the state’s marijuana possession arrests.

Polling data, commissioned by the ACLU in 2013, found that 53 percent of Maryland voters support making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it like alcohol. Only 38 percent said they were opposed to this change.

Last year, the Senate passed a bill that would have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana to a civil fine of up to $100, but that measure died in the House.

Lawmakers did, however, pass a bill to allow academic research studies of medical marijuana, but stopped short of legalizing medical marijuana in the state.

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  • HumphreyPloughjogger

    Another proposal to feed leviathan by taxing my herb. For LEO and the taxman it creates the best of both worlds. Black market continues for the LEO who will also need to be hired to WATCH the retail marijuana stores, cultivation facilities, and marijuana product manufacturers to make sure they do not cheat the Tax Man.

    For the Creator’s sake it is an herb, treat it exactly like that and limit special treatment to marijuana product manufacturers (The distillers of THC if you must have an ETOH analogy).

    • Dbaums

      Actually it’s a drug (THC), not an herb.

  • Mike

    I believe that taxing marijuana just like alcohol would be a great benefit to the state. Ok, some say that marijuana is a drug but, so is alcohol which is man made. so what’s the difference? Crime would go down or at least be more focused on serious issues at hand.

  • Joshua Martin

    oh, thedailychronic… how you tease me so~

  • tee

    Look at Colorado they made 5 million dollars in state marijuana sales in one week. they
    stand to make 600 million in a year and have posed a bill to put 40 million
    dollars towards building new schools and renovating the Public schools system. This
    bill could be a win/win for the state of Maryland the public and help with the
    over burden the Legal system lets put murders in jail not pot smokers. ….

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