Tax and Regulate

Announcing Maryland 2019 Cannabis Legalization Lobby Day

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, February 5 and register today!

Maryland's 2019 legislative session is underway and discussion of legalizing adult-use cannabis has already begun. Please join the Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition's lobby day event to demonstrate that Marylanders want the General Assembly to pass legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older this year.

What: Maryland 2019 Cannabis Legalization Lobby Day
When: Tuesday, February 5, 2019 (7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
Where: House Building, Room 170, Annapolis, Maryland
Register here.

Prior to meeting your elected officials, we will provide you with an information package including appointment times and locations and suggested talking points.

It is important your lawmakers hear from as many constituents as possible. Help us send a strong message to the General Assembly to end prohibition in 2019 by joining us in solidarity, and sharing this message — or the Facebook event — with your family and friends in Maryland.

We look forward to seeing you February 5. Together, we can end prohibition in 2019.

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Tax and Regulate

Maryland: Legislative session begins today!

If you live in Maryland, let your lawmakers know you want them to pass a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana in 2019!

The Maryland General Assembly convenes today, and discussion of legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana in the state has already begun. Just last week, House Speaker Mike Busch and Senate President Mike Miller announced plans to create a work group to study how to best implement the legalization of marijuana.

Please ask your lawmakers to support ending marijuana prohibition for adults moving forward and ensure that those harmed by prohibition in the past are able to clear their records.

Prohibition sends an incredible number of people through the criminal justice system, and the collateral consequences can have life-altering effects. Baltimore Fishbowl recently reported that post-decriminalization there is still a huge racial disparity in Baltimoreans being arrested for marijuana.

By legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana with measures to expunge records, the number of marijuana-related arrests will be reduced, and those harmed by prohibition in the past can move on with their lives. It will also free up resources so police can focus on more serious crimes.

It is important your lawmakers hear from as many constituents as possible. Please contact your lawmakers today. Then, forward this message to your family and friends in Maryland. Together, we can end prohibition in 2019!

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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!

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Tax and Regulate

Ask candidates for the Maryland Legislature to commit to supporting marijuana policy reform

The latest Goucher poll shows that 62% of Marylanders “support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.” Unfortunately, Maryland’s lawmakers have lagged behind the public on this issue — but this could change in November’s election. If you are a Maryland voter, please let the candidates in your district know that this issue is important to you. (And don’t forget to check out the Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition’s Voter Guide here.)

If you are interested in hearing more about MPP’s work — and meeting our new executive director, Steven Hawkins — please consider attending the Spark! Maryland networking event on October 4 at 6:30 p.m. at The Reserve at Two Rivers, 4105 Mountain Road, Pasadena, MD 21122. You can purchase tickets here.

Marylanders are ready to join the eight other states that have legalized and regulated marijuana for adults 21 and older. Click here to ask the people who want to represent you in the General Assembly if they’re ready too.

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Tax and Regulate

Voter guide updated for Maryland’s November general election

The Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition just updated our voter guide for Maryland’s general election on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. All 188 of Maryland’s lawmakers are up for election this year, and we’ve graded the marijuana policy positions of those that responded to our candidate survey. We hope this guide is helpful as you prepare to vote!

Maryland’s 2018 gubernatorial election is also important for marijuana policy reform. Democratic candidate Ben Jealous has repeatedly declared his support for legalizing and regulating marijuana. The Maryland Green Party and Libertarian Party of Maryland, both members of the coalition, are also fielding candidates who support legalization, Sean Quinn and Ian Schlakman.

Unfortunately, Republican candidate (and current governor) Larry Hogan’s views on the topic are not entirely clear. Please help us get his position firmly on the record! Consider attending a campaign event (listed on his Facebook page or Eventbrite) and respectfully asking him to explain his views. Or, you can send him an email. If you get a response, or just hear him comment on marijuana policy reform, please let us know.

And of course, don’t forget to register to voteYou must register by October 16, 2018 to vote in this election.

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Prohibition

Bills to Improve Maryland Decriminalization Law Stuck in Committee With Deadline Approaching

Maryland has decriminalized the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana. But 10 grams is a lower threshold than the vast majority of states that have eliminated jail time for cannabis possession, many of which use one ounce as the cutoff. As a result, in 2016 at least 4,300 people were criminally prosecuted for cannabis possession in Maryland. SB 127 would raise the threshold to one ounce.

SB 128 would address the problem that people in possession of less than 10 grams are still being criminalized in some jurisdictions by being charged with “possession with intent to distribute” — a felony — based on very limited evidence (like having their cannabis in more than one baggie). In order to address this overcharging, SB 128 would create a legal presumption that people who have less than the amount decriminalized should not be charged with possession with intent to distribute.

Both of these bills are sitting in the House Judiciary Committee, and with the legislative session ending Monday night, lawmakers need to hear from you to ensure the bills get a vote.

If you are a Maryland resident, please ask your delegates to make sure SB 127 and SB 128 pass this year.

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Medical Marijuana||Tax and Regulate

Deadline Looming for Maryland Cannabis Bills

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.

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Prohibition

Maryland Senate Approves Bill to Address Criminal Overcharging

Back in 2014, Maryland lawmakers decriminalized the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana. Unfortunately, in some jurisdictions, people in possession of less than that amount are still being criminalized. Increasingly, some prosecutors are charging individuals with “possession with intent to distribute” — a felony — based on very limited evidence, like having their marijuana in more than one baggie (which could easily be because they purchased it that way or had a few different strains, rather than because they were selling it).

In order to address this overcharging, Sen. Bobby Zirkin, Chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, introduced SB 128, which MPP supported. The bill just passed the Senate 45-1. The bill now goes to the House of Delegates.

SB 128 would simply create a legal presumption that people who have less than 10 grams should not be charged with possession with intent to distribute. Prosecutors could still make the case if there’s evidence of an intent to sell.

Even being arrested for a felony can have serious collateral consequences. For example, some jobs will suspend or fire employees immediately due to a felony arrest. Lawmakers intended to reduce the number of people caught up in the criminal justice system for having small amounts of marijuana — ask them to help fulfill that goal by passing this bill.

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Prohibition||Research

MPP Publishes Voter Guide for Maryland Democratic Gubernatorial Primary

MPP has just released our voter guide for the Maryland gubernatorial primary election. We hope that Maryland’s Democratic voters will find this guide useful as they prepare to vote in the state’s Democratic primary elections on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. There are big differences between the candidates, whose grades range from A+ to C based on their responses to our survey, public statements, and record in office. We plan to update our voter guide with information on the general election candidates after the primary.

This is an important election because, even if marijuana legalization appears on the ballot alongside the gubernatorial candidates (which we hope it does), the governor will have a lot of influence over the implementation of taxation and regulation of marijuana. The field is still wide open, as nearly half of Democratic voters remain undecided. The voter guide also provides contact information for all the candidates, and we encourage you to contact them to share your views on marijuana policy reform — and encourage them to discuss the issue.

If you want more information on how to register to vote, please visit the Board of Elections website.

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Tax and Regulate

Maryland to Hold Hearings on Legalization Ballot Bill

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.

If you are interested in sharing your personal story with lawmakers, please contact us!

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