Monday is a crucial deadline for marijuana policy reform bills in Maryland. HB 1264, which would let Marylanders vote on regulating marijuana for adults, needs to move out of the House Judiciary Committee by then to stay alive this year. HB 602, a bill that would protect the rights of Maryland’s medical cannabis patients, must be voted on by the Senate in order to “cross over” to the House of Delegates and move forward during this session.
If approved by 60% of both chambers of the Maryland Legislature, HB 1264 would place a constitutional amendment on the November 2018 ballot that would make possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis legal for adults 21 years of age and older and require the state to establish regulations and taxation for a legal cannabis market, as well as to ensure diversity in the cannabis industry.
HB 602 would ensure that patients don't lose their Second Amendment rights under state law simply because medical cannabis helps them with their serious illness. Regardless of what you think about Maryland’s gun laws, no patient should have to lose any of their legal rights because of their status as a patient. This is of particular concern to veterans, who may be dissuaded from trying medical cannabis — a much safer alternative to the opioids they are frequently prescribed for pain or PTSD — because they don’t want to lose these rights.
The bills to let the people of Maryland decide whether the state should tax and regulate cannabis for adults, SB 1039 and HB 1264, will have hearings beginning tomorrow and on March 13.
In order for the people to vote on whether to end marijuana prohibition, lawmakers must pass SB 1039 or HB 1264 to put the issue on the November 2018 ballot. If you are a Maryland resident, please ask your lawmakers to allow voters to put an end to the failed and biased policy of cannabis prohibition and replace it with a system that allows adults to lawfully consume a substance that is safer than alcohol. You can also click here for more information on these bills.
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