In 2023, we will reach the ten-year anniversary of medical cannabis legalization in the state of Maryland. Ever since possession in small quantities was decriminalized in 2014, our state hasn’t undergone many legal changes when it comes to cannabis possession and usage. Over that same time span, nearby DC, Virginia, and New York have all legalized cannabis for recreational usage. In this blog, we’re assessing the current state of cannabis legality in the state of Maryland and forecasting the next several years.
Cannabis Legality in Maryland
As outlined earlier, possession of small quantities of cannabis has been decriminalized in the state of Maryland. Those with less than 10 grams on their person can expect a civil offense penalty, a fine not exceeding $100, and zero incarceration time.
Once the 10-gram threshold is exceeded, the consequences ramp up notably. Possession of over 10 grams of cannabis can result in a fine not exceeding $1,000, a year of incarceration, as well as a criminal misdemeanor charge. If an excessively high quantity is discovered, or if intent to distribute can be proven, offenders can expect even steeper fines along with a felony charge and a maximum of five years imprisonment.
As is the case with any misdemeanor crime, individuals potentially facing charges should seek out legal guidance and assistance to reduce the impact of the ensuing negative consequences.
A Look Ahead
In November of 2022, Maryland may become the next state to officially legalize recreational cannabis usage. The decision will come after citizens vote on the question of whether cannabis reform should come to Maryland on our November ballot. Should the bill pass, here is how the landscape of cannabis will most likely change in Maryland:
Between the start of 2023 and July 2023, a transitional period would take place, resulting in small fines for possession under an ounce and a half. After the transitional period, the state would then view possession as follows:
- Possession of 1.5 ounces or less: Fully legal
- Possession of up to two cannabis plants: Fully legal
- Possession not exceeding 2.5 ounces: Civil citation, no criminal charges
- Possession exceeding 2.5 ounces: Existing marijuana laws apply (civil violation with a fine not exceeding $100)
- Expungements of past marijuana- related crimes.
Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Represent You After Being Accused of a Crime in the State of Maryland
If you are searching for a criminal defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.