There are many bills being filed for legislation to make adult-use recreational marijuana legal in Maryland.
Maryland Marijuana Legalization, Social Equity, and Pandemic Challenges
HB32 is the house bill that would legalize marijuana, as well as allow expungement for those convicted of marijuana offenses. The man behind one of these bills is Delegate Jazz Lewis, and he believes in everything it stands for. “This year we are talking about equity, and now is the time that we pass this bill.” Said Lewis. If this bill passes people 21 and over would be allowed to “grow, possess, consume, use, purchase, manufacture, process, or transport up to the allowed amount of cannabis.”
The amount of cannabis that would be legal under the “personal use amount” is up to two ounces. This also includes 15 grams of concentrated cannabis, allowing for a grow of up to six marijuana plants, and cannabis infused products up to 1,500 milligrams of THC. If more than the “personal use amount” is found on your person, then that would be considered a civil offense, which has a $250 fine or maximum penalty of 16 hours of community service. If you are underage and found with marijuana that’s a $100 fine, or 6 hours of community service.
One of Lewis’s main arguments was that this bill would “take the production of cannabis off of the streets to ensure safer products, while simultaneously creating jobs, helping small businesses, and bringing in potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue.” The bill has also gained support from the former president and CEO of the NAACP, Ben Jealous. Jealous was quoted as saying, “It is rare to have the opportunity to right past wrongs and create an inclusive economy… Lewis’ bill stands out… in it’s thoroughness to hit all of those.”
Lewis and other sponsors of the bill claim that legalizing pot would create around $300 million a year in revenue for Maryland. The tax rate on this bill isn’t clear yet, as Lewis wants a 20% tax, while his colleague, Brian Feldman wants a 10% tax (increasing to 20% by the year 2027). They have both filed very similar bills and are willing to work together to find a compromise. Lewis went on to say, “I’m hopeful that we will end up having a unity very soon that everyone can get behind.”
Community Reinvestment and Repair through Cannabis
While medical marijuana was legalized in Maryland in 2014, many people of color were still struck down by lady liberty. 96% of all marijauana-related arrests in Baltimore were comprised of people of color. This is where Lewis majorly criticized the legalization saying, “the law only made marijuana legal for white consumption.” With the statistics, we can’t argue against that. We all know that people of color are disproportionately arrested by police for marijuana offenses, and Lewis wants to change that.
According to his bill, 63% of the revenue that would be created from marijuana legalization would go directly to: grants for organizations taking on social equality challenges, funding for small startup businesses, funding for the state’s four historically Black colleges and universities, and community reinvestment. “We must ensure those most hurt from cannabis prohibition, benefit most from the new legal industry.” said Lewis. He also wants people of color in the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission in order to, “Promote diversity and inclusion in the industry and foster reparative justice.”
There have been many bills like HB32 (all the way back to 2017) which have taken a stab at making marijuana legal, but none of them have ever passed. However, as marijuana edges further into bipartisanism each day, it generally gains more support. While we wait on the voting date for the bill, it is our job as marijuana enthusiasts to promote cannabis activism and get people the information they deserve!
At The Weed Blog, we strive to produce the latest online news resources regarding marijuana. We also review various strains of cannabis or other edible counterparts. We are committed to helping you find valuable information about marijuana on our website. With marijuana laws constantly changing, learn from us what you can do to promote activism in your area. Otherwise, consider these other top-tier articles regarding cannabis: