Maryland Senator Allan Kittleman, a Republican from Howard, stated Friday that he will co-sponsor a bill that would legalize marijuana in Maryland. The other co-sponsor of the bill is Maryland Senator Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Montgomery. Getting bipartisan support for any bill is significant, especially a marijuana legalization bill.
The plan will propose a marijuana legalization model similar to Colorado's. Marijuana sales would be legal, subject to state regulation, and a tax would be established. The legal age to purchase marijuana would be 21 years old, similar to Colorado's law. Very few details have been released, so when the media says it's going to be similar to Colorado's, I'm assuming home cultivation will be allowed. If not, the proposed bill would be more like Washington's model which does not allow home gardens.
"One thing most people know about me is I'm a civil libertarian," Kittleman said, according to the Washington Post. "This isn't something I'm doing for politics. The current way we're dealing with marijuana and the use of it by our citizens isn't working."
Marijuana reform is sweeping across the country, however, we are still waiting for our first marijuana legalization victory via a state legislature. Many activists were hopeful for Maine to be the first, but dispensary owners there were able to successfully kill this year's attempt. Rhode Island was another one on people's radars, but the Governor in Rhode Island recently said he wouldn't support it.
Another state that looked promising was New Hampshire, which may vote on a marijuana legalization bill this week. However, a similar vote was scheduled for last week and didn't happen, which doesn't sound promising. I've heard a lot of rumors out of Oregon about a legalization bill either being introduced in February, or a bill from last year being revived. I guess we will have to stay tuned!