Maryland: Bill to decriminalize one ounce of cannabis introduced; hearing next week
Although Maryland decriminalized simple possession of marijuana back in 2014, thousands of Marylanders continue to have their lives derailed by possession arrests. With your help, that could change this year: Delegate Nick Mosby (D) has proposed a bill to stop many of these arrests by increasing the decriminalized amount from 10 grams to one ounce.
Email your lawmakers today and ask them to support HB 550!
The bill — HB 550 — is scheduled for a House Judiciary Committee hearing next Tuesday. You can voice your support for this important reform by testifying in person or submitting written testimony.
What: Hearing on the decrim fix bill, HB 550
When: Tuesday, February 11, 1:00 p.m. (Note that other bills are also scheduled during this committee meeting, so there could be a significant wait before the bill is called.)
Where: House Office Building, Room 101, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD
You can find guidelines on providing testimony here. If you provide oral testimony, you will be limited to three minutes. Please be polite and respectful and dress in business or business-casual attire.
Under HB 550, possession of up to an ounce would be punishable by a civil fine of $100 rather than a criminal penalty that carries possible jail time. Also, a person could no longer be charged with possession with intent to distribute based solely on possession of an ounce or less.
HB 550 would reduce the number of arrests and criminal charges for marijuana possession. Arrests for simple possession can be traumatic, and a criminal conviction can hinder one’s ability to obtain a job, housing, or a college education.
Please take a minute to email your lawmakers and ask them to support HB 550, and consider showing your support at next week’s hearing. Then, forward this message to your friends and family in Maryland and encourage them to do the same.