Some people think Maryland could be the next Colorado, I think it has a long ways to go. However they did take a small step towards legalization. Last month in a bipartisan vote of 30-16, made possessing ten grams of marijuana or less a civil issue rather than a criminal one. Previously if caught with cannabis you would get a $500 fine and could spend up to nine months in jail. Now those caught with ten grams or less will be given a $100 fine, similar to how California handles recreational marijuana.
The main sponsor of the bill is State Senator Robert A. Zirkin (D),
who feels that the cost of prosecuting small-time marijuana charges is
out of control and the money used for that could be of greater value used elsewhere. Zirkin said to the Baltimore Sun, ”This is a tremendous waste of resources.”
The bill’s co-sponsor, Republican State Senator Allan Kittleman feels
the same way. “Last I heard there were 47,000 arrests [based on]
marijuana last year. Seems to me we should use those resources on better
things. We shouldn’t put those folks in jail.”
Proponents of the bill, which has passed through the State Senate and
now needs to pass through the House of Delegates, where many analysts
believe the bill will likely face fierce backlash, and then get signed
by Governor Martin O’Malley, who was completely anti-MJ until recently,
when he backed an up-and-coming medical marijuana bill.
There is still a good amount of the population that is against decriminalizing small quantities of cannabis. The main group of those people are parents who feel that their children are more likely to be exposed to cannabis if any amount of marijuana is decriminalized.
Daniel Amendola, a Maryland resident, is concerned about the message that this bill would send to children. Daniel says
“Obviously, we waste a lot of legal resources on small amounts of
marijuana, but it’s a slippery slope that just leads to no good,”
There are still some large steps that need to be taken towards decriminalizing marijuana in Maryland, but at least there are some steps made, which is a good start.