Maryland Voter-Approved Legalization Measure Takes Shape in New Year

Maryland may still be years away from launching a new legal marijuana market, but the start of the new year still marks the beginning of the mid-Atlantic post-Prohibition era.

A majority of Maryland voters approved the ballot initiative in November. The initiative also aims to legalize adult recreational pot use in the state and establish a regulated retail cannabis market.

According to local news station WJLA, “Recreational marijuana won’t be fully legal until July 1, but for now, possession of up to 1.5 ounces is no longer a crime”; It is a civil violation involving

“The fine for up to 2.5 ounces is $250,” the station reported.

But the new law brings immediate changes to the front lines of criminal justice.

According to WJLA, Marylanders with a cannabis-related criminal record will be automatically removed by July 1, 2024, but you don’t have to wait too long.

“You can go to the Maryland Courts website and apply for an expungement without the help of a lawyer. They even have instructional videos.” the station said.

WJLA continued: “There is also very good news for those currently in custody for cannabis-related offenses. , the judge must resent the time served and they must be released.

67% of Maryland voters approved Question 4 in November, making the state the latest to end its ban on cannabis use.

The “Yes on 4” campaign was funded by Trulieve, a leading cannabis company with a significant presence in the existing medical cannabis market in Maryland.

The campaign also placed former Baltimore Ravens player Eugene Monroe as chairman.

“Tonight, Maryland voters made history by ending an era of marijuana prohibition failure,” Monroe said in a post-passage statement in November. As quoted by the Associated Press“For decades, the unequal criminalization of cannabis in Maryland has damaged black and brown communities. We must turn the pages of that disturbing history by focusing on marijuana legalization will create high-paying jobs, open doors for small business owners, and generate new tax revenue for the state. Maryland legislators have a responsibility to ensure that these benefits are available to people in historically underserved communities.”

Question 4’s success was foreseen by a series of encouraging polls for the campaign.

Released in early October by the University of Maryland and of washington post More than 70% of voters are in favor of legalizing cannabis.

“What stood out for me was the high level of support and the diversity of support. You can see that the majority supports this across parties, regions and almost every characteristic,” he said. said Michael Hammer, director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Participation at the University of Maryland. As quoted by Washington Post“It’s a national trend. People have really changed their minds on this issue over time, and everything is pointing in a more supportive direction.

‘Yes on 4’ campaign is optimistic about the potential economic benefits of the new law for the state, predicting that legalization could “generate more than $135 million in tax revenue for the state” doing.

“This figure does not include city and county revenues or savings from the millions of dollars Maryland spends each year enforcing marijuana possession laws. Passing it allows local law enforcement to focus its limited resources on fighting violent crime.Of the 10 U.S. counties with the highest arrest rates for marijuana possession, Maryland has There are three of those counties,” the campaign said on its website.

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