Maryland may be the next state to decriminalize marijuana as a bill was just approved by the Senate to lessen the penalty for the possession of the drug. Here's what you need to know.
1. Maryland Senate Voted 30-16 on a Bill that Would Decriminalize Marijuana
The Maryland Senate approved Senate Bill 297 on Tuesday that would decriminalize marijuana, reports The Daily Chrionic. The bill, which will now be considered by the House of Delegates, was approved 30-16. If passed by the House of Delegates, the bill would decriminalize marijuana, decreasing the penalty for the possession of less than 10 grams to up to a $100 fine with no time in jail.
“We don’t want to wrap people up in the criminal jail system for this,” the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Robert A. Zirkin, said at last week’s hearing.
2. Current Maryland Law Punishes Possession of Less Than 10 Grams
Current Maryland law punishes the possession of less than 10 grams of pot with up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.
3. Another Bill Seeks to Legalize the Drug
On the same day as the bill's approval, the House of Delegates heard a testimony on another bill that would legalize the possession of marijuana by adults 21 or older and establish a system that would regulate the drug like alcohol. If passed, the House Bill 1453 would allow possession of up to an ounce and the cultivation of up to three plants. The bill would also allow licensed marijuana retail stores, wholesale facilities and testing facilities.
4. 18 States Allow Medical Use of Marijuana
18 states already allow medicinal marijuana. Medical marijuana has been proven to ease nausea and stimulate hunger in chemotherapy patients.
"I think it's really important to people with family members who might have cancer to be able to do this," State Sen. Nancy Jacobs, who voted for the bill on Tuesday and whose husband has cancer, told the Senate.
5. Washington and Colorado are the Only States to Legalize Pot
Washington and Colorado voted on the 2012 ballot to legalize marijuana and the measure passed in both states. The vote was a landmark in American history. Within state boundaries anyone over the age of 21 can buy and use a full ounce of pot at any time, except behind the wheel, of course. Up to six plants can also be grown for personal use.