BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) -- Most Marylanders plan to vote in favor of legalizing marijuana this November, according to results from the Goucher College Poll.
The poll, released Monday morning, surveyed 1,008 Maryland residents from Sept. 8 to 12. Of those surveyed, 748 were identified as likely voters.
The pollsters said 59% of Marylanders would vote yes on the ballot question, while, 34% of those surveyed said they would vote against the bill and 7% are currently undecided.
Maryland lawmakers in April approved House Bill 1, which establishes the ballot referendum to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use, effective July 1, 2023. Currently, medicinal marijuana use is legal in Maryland.
If Maryland votes yes on the ballot question -- "Do you favor the legalization of adult–use cannabis in the State of Maryland?" then HB 837 will go into effect.
The bill would allow Marylanders to possess up to 1.5 ounces of recreational cannabis without penalty. Possession of over 1.5 ounces of cannabis and up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis would be reduced to a civil offense rather than a misdemeanor.
The bill sets out to address criminal justice and public health issues, while also building a foundation for social equity in the industry, House Speaker Adrienne Jones' office said in February.
The legislation also would automatically expunge the conviction of anyone previously found guilty of simple possession of marijuana if it was the only charge in the case. In addition, anyone currently held in a state prison or local jail for a cannabis conviction would be resentenced to end their term of incarceration.
The pollsters said 62% of those surveyed if voters do vote to legalize, the state should then expunge the records of those charged with or convicted of marijuana use and/or possession crime and 29% said the state should not.
The bill also calls for a study to collect data on patterns of use, incidents of impaired driving, and the impact cannabis use has on public health.
for more features.