We’re just one week out from the Maryland General Assembly kicking off its 2022 legislative session, and cannabis legalization will be a major priority for the legislature this year.
Most recently, a bill — HB 1 — that would refer the question of cannabis legalization to Maryland voters on the November 2022 ballot has been pre-filed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Luke Clippinger. The House has been interested in the pathway of referring the question of legalization to voters, as House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D) announced in July 2021 that the House intends to pass a referendum bill this year.
While it’s encouraging that the House is committed to taking up adult-use cannabis legalization this year, HB 1, as currently written, lacks the major priorities that the Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition has been advocating for. Most notably, HB 1 would not legalize cannabis possession until July 2023, does not include personal cultivation of cannabis, and does not specify that legalization must be rooted in equity.
It’s important your lawmakers hear from you. Please reach out to them today and ask that they legalize cannabis this year without delay!
Meanwhile, the Senate prefers to pass legalization outright through legislation. As a referendum alone will not implement an adult-use cannabis program that is equitable, implementing legislation that sets up the regulatory framework, tax structure, automatic expungement process, and provisions to ensure those who have been most impacted by prohibition benefit from the legal industry must also be taken up in 2022.
Please reach out to your lawmakers today and stay tuned for future updates.
Together, we can end cannabis prohibition in the Free State!