Md.: Legislature approves bill to automatically shield possession charges

Early adjournment leaves decrim fix bill up in the air — take action to keep it alive.

Good news! Both chambers of the General Assembly have approved HB 83, a bill that would automatically shield past cannabis charges occurring before October 1, 2014, in which possession was the only charge in the case. The bill now heads to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk for final approval.

If enacted, HB 83 would shield nearly 200,000 cannabis possession charges from public view on the Judiciary’s “Case Search” website. Unfortunately, this is not a full record expungement. Full record expungement of marijuana possession is available by application after four years. You can find more information on expungement here.

Del. David Moon’s initial version of HB 83 included automatic expungement. However, it was amended in committee due to the complexity and costs involved. Our plan is to push for the stronger bill as part of legalization next year.

In light of the coronavirus, the General Assembly will adjourn its session tomorrow and will hold a special session the last week of May.

The decision leaves the fate of another important cannabis reform bill — HB 550 —uncertain. The bill would increase the amount of cannabis decriminalized in Maryland from 10 grams to one ounce, which would save thousands of Marylanders from arrests and criminal charges for simple possession.

Please take a minute to urge your senator to take up HB 550 before the legislature adjourns. Then, forward this message to other Marylanders and encourage them to do the same.

Read more

Medical Marijuana||Tax and Regulate

Md.: 2019 legislative session adjourns, focus shifts to 2020

If you live in Maryland, please ask your legislators to support legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and older!

The Maryland General Assembly wrapped up its 2019 legislative session on Monday, April 8. It was a somber end to the legislative session with the passing of House Speaker Michael Busch, who was Speaker of the House of Delegates for 16 years.

A number of cannabis reform bills were introduced this session, including legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults' use. Unfortunately, neither those bills nor the bill that would legalize cannabis following voter approval in 2020 passed this session.

But, the state is positioned to seriously consider legalizing and regulating cannabis in 2020. A work group will be convening during the interim to study how to best implement the legalization of marijuana in Maryland. The work group will report its findings by December 31, 2019, just in time for the 2020 session. Stay tuned for updates from the work group and opportunities to weigh in on meetings!

In the meantime, be sure to keep up the momentum and let your delegate(s) and senator know you want them to support legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older.

In other news, several bills to improve Maryland's medical marijuana program were also introduced this session. A bill that will allow edible cannabis products to be an option for patients was passed on Monday. It will be effective upon signature by Gov. Larry Hogan or 30 days after presentment by the General Assembly.

A bill to add opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition and a bill to ensure medical marijuana patients do not lose their gun rights were also introduced this session. Unfortunately, these bills did not advance.

There is increasing momentum for marijuana policy reform in Maryland. Keep the pressure up by contacting your lawmakers today and sharing this message with your family and friends in Maryland. Together, we can end prohibition!

Read more

Tax and Regulate

Maryland: Early voting has begun

Check out the Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition’s voter guide to find out where candidate’s stand on marijuana policy!

Maryland’s General Election Day is less than two weeks away, and early voting is already underway! Now is the perfect time to study up on where your candidates stand on legalizing and regulating cannabis.

The Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition has put together a comprehensive voter guide with the results of their candidate survey. Please check it out, share it on social media, and go make your voice heard!

In the gubernatorial race, here’s a look at where candidates stand: Ben Jealous (D) is a vocal supporter of legalizing and regulating marijuana. Meanwhile, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has not expressed support for legalization, but did recently say it was “worth taking a look at.”

If you are registered to vote, you can cast your ballot early now through Thursday, November 1. If you are not yet registered to vote, you have until November 1. Then, Election Day is set for Tuesday, November 6.

Please forward the message to your network in Maryland, and be sure to get out and vote!

Read more