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Maryland Laws & Penalties

Offense Penalty Incarceration   Max. Fine  

Possession

Personal Use

10 g or less misdemeanor 90 days $ 500
10g - 50 lbs misdemeanor 1 year $ 1,000

With intent to distribute

Less than 50 lbs felony 5 years $ 15,000
More than 50 lbs 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 2 - 5 years $ 40,000
Involving a minor felony 20 years $ 20,000
* Subsequent offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years.

Trafficking

5 - 45 kgs felony 10 years $ 10,000
More than 45 kgs felony 25 years $ 50,000
In possession of a firearm while trafficking felony 5* - 20 years $ 0
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Hash & Concentrates

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

Paraphernalia

Possession of paraphernalia misdemeanor 1 year $ 1,000
Selling paraphernalia misdemeanor 2 years $ 2,000
To a minor who is at least 3 years younger misdemeanor 8 years $ 15,000
Advertising the distribution of paraphernalia misdemeanor 2 years $ 2,000
Paraphernalia includes all equipment and materials used in the use, manufacture, or distribution of marijuana.

Penalty Details

Possession for Personal Use

Simple possession (possession without the intent to distribute) of 10 grams or less in Maryland is a misdemeanor with a punishment of 90 days in jail and a maximun fine of $500.

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

See:

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-601(c)(2)

Possession With Intent to Distribute

Possession with intent to distribute of less than 50 lbs. 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 more than 50 lbs. of marijuana (acts in proceeding 90 days can be aggregated), then the punishment for this felony is imprisonment of NOT LESS than 5 years.

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 more than 50 lbs. 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 more than 45 kgs. of marijuana into the state of MD, 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 kgs. of marijuana into the state, but more than 5 kgs., 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 selling 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 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 lbs. 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 lbs. 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)

*NOTE: MD is currently re-evaluating their medical necessity defense with a bill passing both houses of the state legislature which would eliminate the $100 dollar fine and misdemeanor record if clear and convincing evidence of medical necessity is present.

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

Drug Kingpin

If an individual is found to be a "drug kingpin" (an organizer, supervisor, financier, or manager who acts as a coconspirator in a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, dispense, transport in, or bring into the State a controlled dangerous substance), and dealt with more than 50 lbs. 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
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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