Maryland Senate Approves Decriminalization Bill

Mar 14, 2014 , , , , , ,

Sen. Bobby Zirkin

For the second year in a row, the Maryland Senate has approved Sen. Bobby Zirkin’s proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Today’s vote had an even wider margin than last year’s. Seven Republicans joined 29 Democrats for a 36-8 bipartisan vote. SB 364 now heads to the House Judiciary Committee for its consideration.

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee heard nearly eight hours of testimony on proposals to decriminalize and legalize marijuana from MPP and other members of the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland

SB 364 would replace criminal penalties for the possession of 10 grams of marijuana with a civil fine of up to $100. This is a much-needed measure in Maryland, which has the fourth-highest arrest rate per capita for marijuana possession. Arrest records have a devastating effect on a young person’s life, and can become an obstacle to obtaining an education, employment, and even housing. SB 364 is a strong step towards ending the ineffective and destructive prohibition of marijuana. This bill would also free up law enforcement to focus on addressing serious crimes instead of arresting adults for using a substance objectively safer than alcohol.

More than two-thirds of Maryland voters (68 percent) support changing state laws to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $100, according to a survey conducted in September by Public Policy Polling. The full results are available at

11 responses to “Maryland Senate Approves Decriminalization Bill”

  1. Too high a price for too little quantity. Unreasonable laws rule the day here. “Jury Nullification” for all non-violent drug offenses should be on all “our agendas”. They won’t listen to us and we won’t convict anyone. “Hang” their juries! Sooner or later they’ll wise up….. hopefully.

  2. I don’t care if they call it a tax or a fine.. Use of pot needs to be decriminalized period. (any amount…and this will cut into the dealers) The damage done to our society by the so-called phony “war on drugs” is so much more heinous than decriminalizing pot (like booze) could ever be.
    A long-time addictions therapist

  3. So wher the hell is the House one this? It!s been a couple of weeks since the Senate passed it, but the House continues to sit on it’s ass! What is up with that? Same as last year…gutless politicians.

  4. Guess most of the House must be in bed with Big Pharm, Alcohol, and Tobacco! Screw the voter! If 68% isn’t a mandate, what the hell IS?

  5. They are going to have 10 dispensaries. And 10 growers….it’s not even going to put a 5% dent in the illegal trade of herb.

  6. Any person charged with a marijuana crime has the legal right to have a jury decide their innocence or guilt.
    Any person charged with possession of marijuana has the right to have that alleged marijuana tested, by the State, at a State drug testing facility in order to confirm that suspicion.
    Any person charged with a marijuana crime has the right to a speedy trial.

  7. So, Eric, you can’t possibly be suggesting “marijuana criminals” cases will be dismissed if every person so charged demands their legal right to drug testing of the suspected marijuana at a State drug testing lab…You can’t be suggesting that it is impossible to test so many samples and still fulfill a defendant’s Constitutional right to a speedy trial?

    Are you also suggesting jurors recognize and utilize their Constitutional right/duty to “judge” the law itself ?

    I don’t quite understand ,Rick?

    Well, let me attempt to clarify that issue , Mr. &Mrs. Juror. Every sitting Jury has the right to nullify a charge against any person who the Jury finds is the victim of a law that is invalid based on it’s prejudicial violation of a defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial (Sixth Amendment).
    Do you mean to say a Jury can simply ignore any evidence and acquit based on their finding that the law itself is unjust?
    Yes!,I think you’ve got it!

    Jurors have the power to nullify bad laws.
    If you don’t convict, they will quit!

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