Your essay should be 1000-2000 words.
During the 2022 Legislative Session, a series of complimentary Bills are being introduced that would legalize the recreational use of Marijuana in Maryland. Recent opinion polls in Maryland taken in 2021 found high support of more than 60 percent in support of legalizing recreational marijuana. If the citizens approve the constitutional amendment on the ballot in November, Maryland would become the 19th state to legalize recreational marijuana. If passed, effective January 1, 2023, possession of up to 1.5 ounces would go from a criminal to a civil offense with a fine not exceeding $100. After July 1, 2023, possession of that amount would be legal. Most significantly, a person charged with only possession before implementation of the new law would have that charge automatically expunged on January 1, 2023.
These bills also contain important social equity provisions. Countless studies document that while Black and White people use marijuana at similar rates, a Black person is 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person. Further, and according to the Washington Post, when it comes to the business and entrepreneurship opportunities surrounding legal marijuana sales, in Maryland, Black people have so far been shut out of the market, having secured none of the State’s 15 licenses awarded for medical marijuana. In addition to requiring studies on the health and safety implications of legalizing marijuana, these bills also include provisions for access to loans and training for women and minority-owned businesses wanting to compete for licenses and participate in the marketplace for legalized marijuana. In the immediate term, however, it is believed that the greatest effect of legalization will be on expungements. According to a Carnegie Mellon University study, “…tens of thousands of people will be affected by that, and…sometimes the sense of scale is lost in the debates."
In Your Essay
You should address your opinions on the proposed legislation to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana in Maryland. Do you believe the legislature got these bills right and why? Include your recommendations to fix the system if you believe the legislature did not meet your expectations in addressing the issues surrounding the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use in Maryland. Please do not hesitate to include any personal experiences that you are willing to share on how you, a friend or a family member may have been impacted by existing laws and the current legal system surrounding the recreational use of marijuana, and how you believe passing this constitutional amendment and accompanying legislative measures may impact you or them now, for the better or worse.
Recent Articles on this Session’s debate over the Legalization of Marijuana:
Use these articles to guide further research on the topic.
Partial Representation of Bills Introduced this 2022 Session by the House and Senate on Legalizing Marijuana
HB 1: Constitutional Amendment-Cannabis-Adult Use and Possession
This proposed constitutional amendment, if approved by the voters at the next general election to be held in November 2022, authorizes an individual at least age 21, to use and possess cannabis in the state beginning July 1, 2023, subject to the requirements that the General Assembly pass legislation regarding the use, distribution, possession, regulation and taxation of cannabis.
HB 837: Cannabis Reform
This Bill (1) renames marijuana as “cannabis” and makes corresponding statutory changes; (2) requires specified agencies and entities to complete studies, collect and report data, and develop specific standards regarding the use of cannabis, the medical cannabis industry, and the adult-use cannabis industry; (3) alters civil and criminal penalties related to cannabis; (4) authorizes specified resentencing and release of individuals convicted of use or possession of cannabis; (5) alters expungement provisions; and (6) establishes the Cannabis Business Assistance Fund, the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council and the Cannabis Public Health Fund.
HB 1078 (SB0788): Cannabis-Regulation-Revisions
This emergency bill specifies that a hemp product does not include and marijuana does include any product (1) made through a process that includes the use of hemp and (2) that contains a concentration of 0.3% or greater of delta-8, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration…and is intended for use that is regulated by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC). The bill prohibits a person under the Hemp Farming Program or Maryland Hemp Research Pilot Program, from knowingly producing plants or any part of a plant, that exceeds a delta-8-THC concentration…A definition of medical cannabis and its inclusions and exclusions is also established.
SB 692: Cannabis-Legalization and Regulation
The purpose of this bill is to legalize the use and possession of a certain amount of cannabis by an individual who is at least a certain age; providing for the clearing of criminal records and disposition of certain charges relating to the use and possession of cannabis; establishing a system for the regulation and taxation of the market for the production and sale of cannabis in the State; and generally relating to cannabis.
SB 833: Cannabis-Legalization-and Regulation (Constitutional Amendment)
This bill: (1) establishes that, on or after a certain date, an individual in the State, who is at least a certain age, may use and possess cannabis; (2) alters certain provisions relating to penalties, charging procedures, expungement and sentencing for certain offenses involving cannabis; (3) establishes a system for the regulation and taxation of the market for the production and sale of cannabis in the State; (4) provides for the retroactive application of certain provisions of this Act; and generally relating to cannabis.
Please research the full text and supporting fiscal and policy notes for all Bills being considered this Session for the Legalization of Marijuana. To do this, visit the main website of the Maryland General Assembly, https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/. From the main page, go to the top right link to “Search and Archives” and click on “Legislation”. Make certain that the page specifies the “2022 Legislative Session”. Scroll down to “subjects” and search for “Cannabis-see also smoking and vaping”. This will bring you to a complete list of current bills introduced this session on legalizing marijuana.