Marijuana Legalization Will Be Voted on in Maryland This November

by MCS Staff

Marijuana legalization is up for a vote on Tuesday, November 8. Residents will have the option to vote “FOR” or “AGAINST” Question 4 to legalize cannabis use for adults 21+ starting July 2023. The question will be “Do you favor the legalization of the use of cannabis by an individual who is at least 21
years of age on or after July 1, 2023, in the State of Maryland?” Additional explanation below, courtesy of BallotPedia:

The measure would amend the Maryland Constitution to add a new article, Article XX, which would authorize individuals 21 years of age or older to use and possess marijuana. The added section also authorizes the Maryland General Assembly to “provide for the use, distribution, possession, regulation, and taxation of cannabis within the state.” During the 2022 legislative session, the state legislature also passed the implementing legislation (HB 837) that would take effect once the amendment is adopted. Currently, marijuana is legal for medicinal use in Maryland under a 2013 law. In April 2014, possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana was decriminalized.

HB 837 would temporarily expand decriminalization from January 1 to June 30, 2023, if the amendment passes. It would decriminalize the possession and use of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana with a civil fine of up to $100. Currently, the decriminalized amount is 10 grams. It would also reduce the penalty for possession of more than 1.5 ounces but not exceeding 2.5 ounces to a civil fine of up to $250.

Beginning July 1, 2023, HB 837 would legalize the personal use and possession of up to 1.5 ounces or 12 grams of concentrated cannabis for individuals 21 years of age or older. It would also legalize the possession of up to two cannabis plants. It would change the criminal penalties for persons found possessing cannabis under the age of 21. The bill would also automatically expunge convictions for conduct that would be made legal under the law, and individuals serving time for such offenses would be allowed to file for resentencing.

The bill would require specific studies on the use of cannabis, the medical cannabis industry, and the adult-use cannabis industry. It would also establish the Cannabis Business Assistance Fund and the Cannabis Public Health Fund. The bill did not set up a licensing and regulatory framework for marijuana sales.

Maryland State Delegate David Moon tweeted the following in Friday, “The referendum is primarily about ending criminal penalties for personal use of cannabis. If Question 4 passes, it also triggers a law to automatically expunge & resentence possession, legalize home grow & other reforms. How it’s sold is a debate for January & will be lively.” referencing the debate for how marijuana would be sold by the state of the amendment was voted for in November.

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