Maryland: Cannabis consumer protections die with sine die

Apr 09, 2024

Maryland, workplace

Maryland: Cannabis consumer protections die with sine die

The Maryland General Assembly gaveled out for the year last night, with three cannabis justice bills dying in committee – two employment protection bills and a parole/probation revocation bill.

At least nine legalization states protect cannabis consumers from job discrimination. And most medical cannabis states have protected patients from being fired for using their medicine off hours. The House Economic Matters and Senate Finance Committees held long hearings on Maryland’s employment protection bills — HB 525 and SB 513. Firefighters, union members, and others testified to the need for similar protections in Maryland.

But Del. Jheanelle Wilkins’ HB 525 and Sen. Alonzo Washington’s SB 513 both died in committee, without even getting a vote. Medical cannabis patients and adult-use consumers will continue to be able to be fired for testing positive for metabolites of THC, days or weeks after impairment wears off.

In another blow for cannabis justice, HB 474 died in the House Judiciary Committee, also without having received a vote. The bill would have prevented a person from having their parole, probation, or pre-trial release revoked based on testing positive for cannabis, unless the court or the Maryland Parole Commission made a specific finding that the individual defendant, parolee, or probationer’s use of cannabis could create a danger to the individual or other persons.

A year and a half after Maryland voters broke the record for the most lopsided win for legalization — over 2/3 — their cannabis laws lag behind many others when it comes to cannabis justice. Over the interim, consider meeting with your Maryland state lawmakers to let them know you expect more of the General Assembly next year.

To learn more about cannabis and workers’ protections, join me at the MLK Library next Wednesday, April 17 at 12:45 p.m. I’ll be moderating a panel at the free National Cannabis Festival Policy Summit.

Karen O'Keefe
Director of State Policies
Marijuana Policy Project