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Weed legalization in Maryland: How we got here

Weed legalization in Maryland: How we got here
Weed legalization in Maryland: How we got here 03:24

BALTIMORE - Recreational use of marijuana will finally be legal this weekend in Maryland.

It has been a long-time coming for advocates of legal weed use

And while the debate has been going back and forth for years, it became more real on November 8, 2022.

And come midnight on July 1, 2023, Maryland will be the 20th state, with Washington, D.C., to have legalized marijuana.

Here's how we got here:

July 1, 2023: Recreational marijuana will become legal in Maryland. Adults ages 21 and older will be able to legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis.

The possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana will no longer levy a criminal charge.

Instead, a person will have to pay a civil penalty of $250.

Maryland legalizes recreational marijuana 02:36

The law also creates a process for expunging all cases in which possession of fewer than 10 grams of cannabis is the only charge, along with additional expungement provisions, according to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.   

May 11, 2023: The Baltimore County Police Department began training officers to spot weed impairment behind the wheel. 

The training is called "The Green Lab" and was held at the Chesapeake Region Safety Council in Windsor Mill.

Bongs, joints and edibles were all brought in the presence of law enforcement. 

April 12, 2023: Maryland state marijuana dispensaries spoke to WJZ News about their preparation and revenue increase they expect from recreational cannabis sale.

May 3, 2023: Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed legislation that creates licensing and tax rates to open a recreational marijuana market on July 1. 

Existing medical cannabis dispensaries will be able to have dual licenses to sell recreational marijuana. There will be additional licenses available with priority given to minority owners in communities that have been negatively affected by past marijuana laws. The tax rate will be 9%.

The future of recreational marijuana in Maryland 03:08

April 8, 2023: The 2023 Maryland General Assembly established rules for the recreational sale of cannabis.  

November 8, 2022: Election day, Maryland voters approved of the legalization of marijuana. Question 4 on the ballot passed 67.2 percent to 32.8 percent.  

October 20, 2022: The "Yes On 4" Campaign, chaired by former Baltimore Raven Eugene Monroe, pushed voters to vote "yes" on recreational marijuana on the ballot.

April 1, 2022: Maryland lawmakers approved House Bill I which established a ballot referendum to legalize recreational marijuana use, leaving it in the hands of Maryland voters.

February 3, 2022: Maryland lawmakers introduced a measure to legalize recreational marijuana for adults that supporters said would put the state on a path for an equitable cannabis industry.

The bill created an implementation plan based on the findings of the House Cannabis Referendum Workgroup.  

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 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.

July 16, 2021: Maryland Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones announced support to include a referendum to legalize cannabis on the 2022 General Election ballot.

She said the decision stems from the criminal justice disparities that stem from the criminalization of cannabis.

A Cannabis Workgroup chaired by House Judiciary Chairman Luke Clippinger has been created, should the ballot question be approved in November 2022.

The workgroup would design the implementation for legalized cannabis in the state and will have a particular focus on marijuana-related convictions and charges.

February 24, 2021: Maryland lawmakers proposed a bill to legalize marijuana.

HB32 was proposed to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana, referred to as cannabis in the bill, for adults 21 and older and also allow for expungement and release for individuals previously arrested or incarcerated.

Jazz Lewis, D-Prince George's, who sponsored the bill, argued at the hearing that the bill would take the production of cannabis off of the streets to ensure safer products, while simultaneously creating jobs, helping small businesses, and bringing in potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue.

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