Maryland: Reduced Marijuana Possession Penalties Take Effect

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 30, 2014

    A new Maryland law depenalizing marijuana possession offenses takes effect this Wednesday.

    Senate Bill 364, signed into law this past April, amends statewide penalties for marijuana possession offenses involving ten grams or less from a criminal misdemeanor (presently punishable by arrest, up to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine, and a criminal record) to a non-arrestable, non-criminal, fine-only offense ($100 fine for first-time offenders, $250 for second-time offenders).

    The new law does not reclassify penalties involving the possession of marijuana paraphernalia, which remains a criminal offense.

    A 2013 ACLU analysis of state-by-state marijuana arrests data reported that Maryland has the fourth highest rate of marijuana possession arrests in the nation.

    Nearly 20 additional states, as well as the District of Columbia, now classify minor marijuana possession as a non-arrestable offense.

    28 responses to “Maryland: Reduced Marijuana Possession Penalties Take Effect”

    1. Evening Bud says:

      Way to go Maryland. That’s a nice start.

    2. Voice fo the Resistance says:

      That’s still $100 dollars more then anyone should have to pay.

    3. Galileo Galilei says:

      I was busted in Maryland for growing my own a few years ago. Although I was obviously not dealing, cruel drug war zealotry convicted me for ‘manufacturing’, as if I were supplying meth to most of Baltimore. I paid thousands to the legal system and got off with a fine and 2 years probation.

      My work place was more enlightened than some; they didn’t fire me, but some attitudes of fellow employees changed. I was lucky, the cop that arrested me at my home six months later told me he could have marched me out of my workplace in handcuffs.

      As a result, I could no longer get a security clearance, which forced me into an early retirement. I once read a 600 page textbook on object-oriented programming using Microsoft’s C# language with the Visual Studio interactive programming interface. I understood it well enough to land an offer at a job interview, but couldn’t get a security clearance.

      A heroin addict will sell his daughter’s soul for that next fix. There’s a reason for keeping such a person out of the workplace, especially if it’s business is defense. There’s also a very good business reason for retaining teachable, effective workers who can do the job required.

      I was lucky in one regard. I had been squirreling away spare change in a sock with dreams of finally getting a good guitar. I had reached over $700 and bought my guitar only a few months before. If they had found that, they would have confiscated it and used it as evidence I was dealing.

      I was already a NORML fan, and this experience re-affirmed my attitude.

    4. P says:

      Ok MD… finally got to this first step.

      This time the pro-alcohol ambulance chaser Joe Vallario can’t stop us.

      Vote him out!!!!

    5. Julian says:

      What an incredible moment leading up to November elections. The entire area in and out of our nations Capitol Decriminalized! (Except for Virginia, but they’re on the other side of the Patomac).
      Honestly, my first thought was finally! Some relief for all those poor people sitting in traffick on the Beltway! But then my mind wanders to my black and Latino friends who need this more. And then, in my heart, I pray that people like my Godmother who lived in Rockville won’t have to puke themselves to death on chemo because they don’t have to worry about getting arrested with the only non toxic medicine that can stop the nausea and vomiting with one toke from a vaporizer.
      All this energy in the air from recent laws like these to the recent resignation from Eric Holder is starting to smell like the piney fragrant aroma of some Trainwreck plowing through a soft meadow of emerald green hemp.

      Is this Mary-Juana Land? The District of Colombian Gold? Somebody pinch me! Is Heaven on Earth really happening? Something tells me it’s gonna get a whole lot better…

    6. Utekai says:

      As the US Government is now releasing payment to physicians from big pharma, what is NORML doing to expose the payments from big pharma to these ‘heavily credentialed’ and self-proclaimed experts spreading falsehoods about marijuana while protecting their clients?

    7. Miles says:

      It seems like a tiny baby step but at least it is in the right direction…

      It is bothersome that there is no legal way to get cannabis and if you have a pipe or bong or rolling papers with which to consume it, they still consider that to be a criminal offense. What idiots…

      Still, I live in Virginia and our laws here are some of the worst in the country. For that reason, I want to encourage every Virginian out there reading this to help get Robert Sarvis elected this November. He is the only candidate that doesn’t think we should all be arrested! Get out and vote – no lazy excuses!

    8. TheOracle says:

      Thank you, NORML, MPP, DPA!

    9. Matthew Smith says:

      I am a 50 year old male with Arachnoiditis ( a condition of scarred nerves inside my spinal column which is incurable, and characterised by chronic, constant, SEVERE, Pain. Were I in many of the states that have a REAL MMJ program my condition would EASILY qualify me for MMJ as it does for many of my fellow sufferers around the country, but in Maryland, most Pain Management Doctors will not allow it’s use and because I am tested for my Opiate levels to ensure that I am not using too much or too little , or any non-prescribed Opiates, they also test for MJ and will stop treating me for testing positive for it… I would like to try to use it to REDUCE my dependency on Opiates, but for whatever reason, I am prohibited from doing so…I am an excelent and trained Debater and my Father was a former Lobbyist in Maryland and WISH I could tell my story in front of more Politicians so that they might understand the stupidity of not getting a LEGITIMATE MMJ program running in this state, or, better yet, legalizing it entirely. I have used Marijuana in my College days and several times since, and now , because I took a chance a few times and used some since my medical problems began, I can attest to the many helpful features of it.

    10. Julian says:

      When I read what people are quoting here from state to state in our great American nation, I am greatfully encouraged by our individual influence in our home states. Here, in Texas, where I now call home, Wendy Davis just ripped Greg Abbott up in their debate. No marijuana or failed drug laws mentioned this time around, but Wendy clearly won the battle.
      Voting is SOOOOOoooooo important this November 4th in a Texas. The gap has closed for marijuana decriminalization… Much less legalization… For the Great State of Texas. We have a chance to hit prohibition where it really hurts… Let’s copy the Texas NORML voter guide and send it to everyone we love…
      And if you have a NORML chapter in your state, WTF are you waiting for?!?!
      Get the TRUTH and SPREAD it like cannibutter on warm hemptoast!! How much time will it really cost you to use some of your Boss’ ink without them knowing? It’s the American way! Disclaimer: (Add up the cost of toner in case you get caught!)
      God already Blessed the marijuana movement; It’s up to us to pave the way!