The use of marijuana recreationally as well as medically has been heavily debated for years, but pro-marijuana legislation is making significant progress of late. Colorado has taken the bold step of legalizing marijuana last year, which has been a financial boon for the residents of that state. Tax revenue is expected to increase exponentially since there is a tax on marijuana. Police are also able to spend more time focusing on crimes that are more severe and leave those who just want to get stoned to do their thing. It may surprise you to know that Maryland and other states are slowly heading the same direction; after all, it is difficult for the policy makers to turn their back on that much potential tax revenue. So instead of wasting police resources on such irrelevant drug use, the state is slowly seeing that they can benefit.
This past Thursday night saw many people rally over the legalization, decriminalization, and expansion of medical marijuana. Though it may be a while before marijuana becomes legal altogether in the state of Maryland, decriminalization has made serious headway. The bill to decriminalize marijuana went to the senate yesterday and was voted in favor 36-8, a very “high” margin, telegraphing the future events to come.
What does this mean for the future of marijuana?
Well, the bill still needs to make it through the house, but if it does, it means that marijuana will now be a civil offense rather than a criminal one. Instead of being arrested for 10 grams or less of pot, you’ll simply be charged a $100 fine. The fines will be designated to the Department of Health in order to help make treatment programs better. This is all, of course, if you’re over the age of 18. Underage offenders will still be arrested, rather than pay the fine. Obviously, not everyone is in favor of the bill and it has been slightly amended to try to give it a better chance of passing through the house. It’s possible that adults who are caught three times or more in possession could be brought before a judge to be sentenced to a treatment program.
The future of legalization is getting more and more real, though, especially with Delegate Heather Mizeur who is running for Maryland governor. She plans to attempt to decriminalize marijuana altogether without any kind of provisos to how many times someone has been caught or how much someone has. Keep an eye out to see what marijuana laws are changing and how they could affect you.
In the meantime, remember that all of this is pending house approval. If you’re caught with marijuana before all of this goes through, you’ll need to seek legal counsel from a Maryland criminal lawyer and prepare a defense; unfortunately it’s not decriminalized just yet.
To learn more about our blog, Maryland Senate Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana, or to schedule your free consultation regarding a DUI or criminal matter, give Robinson & Associates a call at 443-524-7395. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.