Feb 25, 2022
cannabis legalization, companion bill, equitable adult-use market, equitable legalization, expungement, Free State, HB 1, HB 837, hearing, home cultivation, House of Delegates, Maryland, MD, milestone, SB 692, SB 833, Sen. Brian Feldman, Sen. Jill Carter, simple possession, voter referral
Today, the House of Delegates approved a pair of bills that would allow voters to decide whether to legalize cannabis for adults’ use in November 2022. This historic vote marks the first time either chamber in Maryland’s legislature has voted on a bill that would legalize cannabis.
HB 1, the bill to refer the question of cannabis legalization for adults’ use to Maryland voters on the November 2022 ballot, passed the House in a vote of 96-34. HB 837, the companion bill that would be contingent on voter approval of HB 1, passed the House in a vote of 92-37.
HB 837 includes details for initial steps of cannabis legalization, such as possession limits, limited expungement, and funding for minority- and women-owned businesses. It does not set up a licensing or regulatory system, and simple possession and limited home cultivation would not become legal until July 2023. You can check out our summary of HB 837 here.
Meanwhile, the Senate is set to begin taking up their own bills to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults next week. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing for Sen. Jill Carter’s SB 692 and Sen. Brian Feldman’s SB 833 on Thursday, March 3 at 1 p.m.
The hearing will be held in person and streamed live on YouTube. To provide written and/or oral testimony at the hearing, you must sign up using an MGA account. A tutorial on how to do so is available here. All oral testimony is limited to two minutes.
In addition to legalizing simple possession and home cultivation, both Senate bills would also establish a regulatory framework for an equitable adult-use market—which is not included in the House package. You can check out our summary of SB 692 here, and a summary of SB 833 here. Our feedback on SB 833 is available here.
Thank you to everyone who advocated to improve the House bills and to achieve today’s historic milestone! Next stop is the Senate. Please consider testifying at the Senate Finance hearing next week in support of equitable legalization without delay and reach out to your senators ahead of the hearing.
Together, we can end prohibition in the Free State!