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Maryland Laws & Penalties

Offense Penalty Incarceration   Max. Fine  

Possession

Personal Use

Less than 10 g Civil Offense None $ 100
10g - less than 50 lbs Misdemeanor 1 year $ 1,000
50 lbs or more Felony 5 years* $ 100,000
Increased fines for subsequent offenders

With intent to distribute

Less than 50 lbs Felony 5 years $ 15,000
50 lbs or more** Felony 5 years* $ 15,000
More than 50 lbs (drug kingpin) Felony 20* - 40 years $ 1,000,000
In a school vehicle, or in, on, or within 1000 feet of an elementary or secondary school Felony 20 years $ 20,000
Subsequent violation Felony 5* - 40 years $ 40,000
Involving a minor Felony 20 years $ 20,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence
** Subsequent offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years

Trafficking

More than 5 - less than 45 kg Felony 10 years $ 10,000
45 kg or more Felony 25 years $ 50,000
In possession of a firearm while trafficking Felony 5* - 20 years N/A
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Cultivation

See Possession section for details.

Hash & Concentrates

Penalties for hashish are the same as for marijuana. Please see the marijuana penalties section for further details.

Paraphernalia

Possession/Sale/Advertising distribution of drug paraphernalia Misdemeanor None $ 500
Subsequent violation Misdemeanor 2 years $ 2,000
Selling to a minor who is at least 3 years younger Misdemeanor 8 years $ 15,000
Possession/Sale controlled paraphernalia Misdemeanor 1 year $ 1,000
Paraphernalia includes all equipment and materials used in the use, manufacture, or distribution of marijuana.

Penalty Details

Possession for Personal Use

In Maryland marijuana is listed as a Schedule I controlled hallucinogenic substances. Simple possession (possession without the intent to distribute) of less than 10 grams in Maryland is a civil offense (fine not exceeding $100 for first-time offenders, $250 for second-time offenders, and $500 for third or subsequent offenders).

Possession of between 10 grams and less than 50 pounds of marijuana is a misdemeanor with a punishment of up to one year imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $1,000.

Possession of 50 pounds or more of marijuana carriers a punishment of a minimum of 5 years imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $100,000.

See

  • MD CODE ANN. §5-402(d)(vii)
  • MD CODE ANN. §5-601
  • MD CODE ANN. §5-612

Possession With Intent to Distribute

Possession with intent to distribute less than 50 pounds of marijuana in Maryland is a felony with a punishment of up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $15,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-607(a)

If a person is found to be in possession of 50 pounds or more of marijuana (acts in proceeding 90 days can be aggregated), then the punishment for this felony is imprisonment of not less than 5 years and a fine not exceeding $100,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §§5-612 (a)-(c).

Possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute in a school vehicle, or in, on, or within 1,000 feet of real property owned by or leased to an elementary school or secondary school, is a felony and is punishable by, for a first violation, imprisonment not exceeding 20 years and a fine not exceeding $20,000, and for each subsequent violation, imprisonment not less than 5 years and not exceeding 40 years and a fine not exceeding $40,000. These penalties are in addition to any other conviction.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. § 5-627

If an offender has previously been convicted of possession with intent to distribute, then there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-607(b)(1)

If an individual is found to be a "drug kingpin" (an organizer, supervisor, financier, or manager who acts as a co-conspirator in a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, dispense, transport in, or bring into the State a controlled dangerous substance), and dealt with 50 pounds or more of marijuana, then they are guilty of a felony and subject to imprisonment for not less than 20 years and not exceeding 40 years without the possibility of parole and a fine not exceeding $1,000,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-613. (Does not merge. §5-613(d).)

If an adult uses or solicits a minor in a conspiracy to distribute, deliver or manufacture marijuana, then the adult is guilty of a felony and is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 20 years or a fine not exceeding $20,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-628

Cultivation

Cultivation in Maryland is punished as either simple possession or as possession with intent to deliver, depending on the amount of marijuana being produced and other factors that may lead to the conclusion that the marijuana was being grown for reasons other than strict personal use. See the Possession for Personal Use" and "Possession with Intent to Distribute" sections for further penalty details.

Trafficking

If a person brings 45 kilograms or more of marijuana into the state of Maryland, then they are guilty of a felony and are subject to imprisonment not exceeding 25 years and a fine not exceeding $50,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-614(a)

If a person brings less than 45 kilograms of marijuana into the state, but more than 5 kilograms, then said person is guilty of a felony and subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-614(b)

If a person is in possession of a firearm at the time they are arrested for trafficking marijuana into MD, then said person is guilty of a felony and may be punished with, for a first violation, imprisonment for not less than 5 years and not exceeding 20 years, and for each subsequent violation, imprisonment for not less than 10 years and not exceeding 20 years.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-621(c)(1)

Hash & Concentrates

In Maryland, hashish and marijuana concentrates are punished at the same level as plant-form marijuana, and are Schedule I controlled hallucinogenic substances. See the Maryland marijuana penalty section for further details.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-101(q)
  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-402(d)(vii)
  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-402(d)(xii)
  • Hignut v. State, 17 Md.App. 399 (Md. Spec. App. 1973)
  • Ertwine v. State, 18 Md.App. 619, 308 A.2d 414 (Md. Spec. App. 1973)

Paraphernalia

Under MD law, paraphernalia includes all equipment and materials used in the use, manufacture, or distribution of marijuana. This includes all agricultural materials used in the growing process, including electronic equipment and typical gardening supplies, such as lights, fertilizer, and top soil. §5-101 also includes under its definition items such as scales, plastic bags, and others used in the distribution process. Hash bubble sacks are paraphernalia. These items are joined by the typical forms of paraphernalia involved in the ingestion of marijuana, including pipes, bongs, and roach clips. Rolling papers and blunt wraps are not included under the statutory definition.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-101

If a person is convicted of possessing or selling drug paraphernalia, then they are guilty of a misdemeanor and can be sentenced, for a first violation, a fine not exceeding $500, and for each subsequent violation, imprisonment not exceeding 2 years and a fine not exceeding $2,000.

See

  • §5-619 (d)(2)

If a person is caught in possession of controlled paraphernalia and marijuana, then they are guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to imprisonment not exceeding 1 year and a fine not exceeding $1,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. § 5-620(d)(2)

If an adult delivers drug paraphernalia to a minor who is at least 3 years younger than the person, the person is guilty of a separate misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 8 years and a fine not exceeding $15,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. § 5-619(d)(4).

Advertising the distribution of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor and can be punished, for a first violation, with a fine not exceeding $500, and for each subsequent violation, with imprisonment for not exceeding 2 years and a fine not exceeding $2,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-619(e)(1)

Mandatory Minimum

Maryland has a mandatory minimum sentences for:

  1. Repeat offenders who have been convicted of possession to distribute on 2 or more occasions (2 years).
  2. Repeat offenders who have previously been convicted of possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 ft. of a school on 2 or more occasions (5 years).
  3. Any offender convicted of possessing 50 pounds or more of marijuana, including any acts of possession within the last 90 days (5 years).
  4. Any offender convicted of being a "drug kingpin" who dealt in more than 50 pounds of marijuana (20 years).
  5. Any offender who is in possession of a firearm at the time they are arrested for trafficking marijuana into MD (10 years)

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-607(b)(1)
  • MD. CODE ANN. §§5-612 (a)-(c)
  • MD. CODE ANN. § 5-627
  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-613
  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-621(c)(1)

Miscellaneous

Medical Necessity Defense

"In a prosecution for the use or possession of marijuana, the defendant may introduce and the court shall consider as a mitigating factor any evidence of medical necessity.

(ii) Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of this subsection, if the court finds that the person used or possessed marijuana because of medical necessity, on conviction of a violation of this section, the maximum penalty that the court may impose on the person is a fine not exceeding $100."

Even with the defense, the crime is still a misdemeanor. Additional fines/penalties are applicable if use is in public or more than one ounce is in possession at one time.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §§5-601(c)(3)(i)-(ii)

For more information concerning Maryland's marijuana laws, please visit NORML's Maryland Medical Marijuana page.

Decriminalization

The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to "life MMS" must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see NORML's Medical Marijuana section.






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