Maryland: Lawmakers To Debate Marijuana Legalization Bill Tomorrow

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 18, 2013

    NORML will be among a number of advocacy groups in Annapolis tomorrow to testify in favor of House Bill 1453, which seeks to legalize and regulate adult marijuana consumption in Maryland.

    NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre will be testifying before members of the House Committee on the Judiciary. The Committee is scheduled to hear the measure on Tuesday, March 19 at 1:00pm. Excerpts of Allen St. Pierre’s written testimony appears below.

    It is time for Maryland lawmakers to give serious consideration to this proposal. Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition and replacing it with regulation. The historic votes on Election Day in Colorado and Washington – where, for the first time ever, a majority of voters decided at the ballot box to abolish cannabis prohibition – underscore this political reality.

    … Despite more than 70 years of federal marijuana prohibition, Americans’ consumption of and demand for cannabis is here to stay. It is time for state lawmakers to acknowledge this reality. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and it is time for lawmakers to impose common-sense regulations governing cannabis’ personal use by adults and licensing its production. A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for limited, licensed production and sale of cannabis to adults – but restricts use among young people – best reduces the risks associated with its use or abuse.

    You can read Allen’s entire written testimony to the Committee here.

    If you reside in Maryland and are not among the over 4,000 state residents who have already contacted your House member in favor of HB 1453, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ page now and do so by clicking here.

    Today, members of the Maryland Senate are also scheduled to vote on separate legislation, Senate Bill 297, which seeks to decriminalize minor marijuana possession offenses. You can learn more about this bill and urge your member of the Senate to endorse the measure by clicking here.

    Maryland is one of ten states that is debating legislation this year to legalize cannabis use. Nearly a dozen states are also considering decriminalization measures. A summary of pending state legislative marijuana law reform measures is available from NORML here.

    Get active; get NORML!

    42 responses to “Maryland: Lawmakers To Debate Marijuana Legalization Bill Tomorrow”

    1. Chandler says:

      Good luck Allen!

    2. gregor says:

      Can you say “LEGISLATIVE LANDSLIDE!!”
      Everywhere you look! This is spectacular!

    3. srfsrgsrgsrg says:

      Thanks so much for coming out to MD. I can’t make it down there because of work. But I’m feeling relieved now that I know NORML will be there to testify. Thanks so much! I hope this passes!

    4. Rithoa says:

      Getting this passed would be a grand victory.

      Why? It would be the first East Coast state to legalize, possibly prompting others to eventually follow suit.

      Help make this happen, Marylanders!

    5. Fireweed says:

      Man, I keep saying, we reach that tipping point and it’s all over. I thought this would happen sooner than predictions being made, but this is coming along faster than even I thought. I am looking forward to the day when you can just go into a store and pay a fair price and know what you’re buying.

    6. Galileo Galilei says:

      Good luck, guys. Blows against the empire.

    7. atlanta toker says:

      Because the demand is only going up and has never relinquished, it is time for all state governments to start protecting the citizens who use marijuana. It is neglect for the government to not protect its citizens.

    8. PatrickInPgh says:

      Maryland, you have a chance to make history. This is going to prove to be an interesting battle, in my opinion for the so called “Free State”. The majority of Maryland’s House members have received a favorable rating from Norml meaning that they are pro-drug-reform, and four of the House Judiciary Committee members are sponsors HB 1453. The past issues that have kept Maryland from adopting marijuana law reform such as medical initiatives have come from House Judiciary Chair Joseph Vallario, Jr. who has argued that such laws would stand in contrast to federal marijuana laws. Since Eric Holder and the Obama administration have expressed their tolerance and respect for state’s rights in these matters I’m excited to find out if Mr. Vallario will change his stance – bringing us one step closer to east-coast legalization and nation wide reformation!

    9. Ben says:

      Again, the liberties which should have been afforded by the documents this country was founded upon are gaining ground because of the slow and patient efforts of NORML and other organizations fighting for our rights.

      Hats off to NORML for leading the charge!

      Victory is in sight…

    10. paul says:

      hmm to bad most of are leaders here wont want this we will see i guess.