As you’ve likely heard, Maryland voters recently passed a ballot measure resulting in big changes in Maryland’s marijuana laws. With these changes, Maryland will become the 21st state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
Decriminalizing marijuana possession
Effective January 1, 2023, it is no longer a crime to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Rather, it is a civil violation resulting only in a fine of $100 or $250, depending on the specific amount possessed.
Legalizing marijuana possession
Beginning July 1, 2023, those 21 years of age and over will be able to lawfully possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use. Those under 21 years old will continue to be prohibited from possessing marijuana.
A person over 21 will also be able to legally grow up to two marijuana plants in their home. While Maryland marijuana law is changing, it will still be illegal under federal law and the laws of many other states to possess marijuana. This means that, even if you possess marijuana legally in Maryland, it may be a crime to bring the marijuana into a neighboring state.
Other marijuana law changes
The ballot measure requires the Maryland Legislature to enact legislation governing the sale of marijuana within the state. The Legislative session begins on January 11, 2023, and legislation establishing a regulatory framework for marijuana sales will likely be coming soon.
The ballot measure also provided a process for requesting expungement of previous convictions for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
Like all drug charges, marijuana convictions can carry harsh consequences. As a result, if you are facing criminal charges or have questions regarding changes to Maryland’s marijuana laws, you should speak with a knowledgeable attorney. An attorney can also advise on potential expungement of past marijuana convictions.