Bill to Legalize Marijuana Introduced in Maryland

Hot on the heels of the introduction of a bill to tax and regulate marijuana in Maine earlier today, Delegate Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore) has filed legislation in Maryland that would end his state’s prohibition on marijuana and regulate its possession, use, and sale for adults over the age of 21.

House Bill 1453 would create a system to regulate and tax cannabis in a manner similar to how the state handles alcohol. It would instruct the Maryland comptroller to license marijuana retail stores, wholesale facilities and testing facilities and apply an excise tax of $50 per ounce on wholesale sales. The excise tax revenue would go to fund treatment programs to prevent alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse. You can read the full text of this proposal here.

If you live in Maryland, please take a moment and use NORML’s Take Action Center here to easily contact your Representative and urge him or her to support this important legislation.

MARYLAND: Click here to urge your elected officials to support this legislation

The winds of reform are blowing strongly at our backs, with Maryland entering the fray, there is currently a total of six states (Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont) with pending legislation to legalize marijuana for adult consumption. Check out the full list of pending state legislation here and find out if your state is considering marijuana law reforms in this legislative session.

97 thoughts

  1. I agree that it’s a start but some of this fine print needs to be reevaluated. From what I read the most is up to 18 plants and they want an up front registration fee of $10,000 and an annual fee of $5,000 for “wholesalers”. Those figures seem disproportionate. If they want those type of fees then it should be 100 plants or provide a sliding scale based on number of plants for individuals who only want to grow for themselves. As with anything political it’s a work in progress.

  2. After reading comments I’m wondering if anyone is reading the actual bill. $50/ounce tax for wholesalers? 10k up front registation fee and 5k per year? I’m all for using this to generate income for the state, schools, roads etc . . . but lets be more realistic.

  3. Agreeing with Tom’s post, it is absurd that in this time, our time, as Americans, the war on drugs is a waste of money, a facade or “pretend” show that the govt cares about your health, by saying drugs are “bad” and will “make you sick” or “ruin your life.” They have so much concern that it’s a federal crime…yet it is only the appearance of concern about your health and is based on lies, funding ineffective/fail agencies with billions annually, and protecting special interests.

    Yet tobacco is legal and fertilized with radioactive chemicals, alcohol is legal, pharmaceuticals kill thousands every year because the FDA approves drugs in exchange for money even though the drugs are ultimately experimental when they go on the market. Pharmaceuticals kill more each year than heroin, meth, all the targets of the war on *some* drugs. Tylenol kills thousands a year because it’s so toxic to the liver.

    Four corporations essentially control the entire food supply and their concerns are genetically modified foods (staples) like soybeans and corn that they can PATENT (e.g. Monsanto). That and factory farming, which is cheaper meat for greater animal suffering and cruelty, it’s also horrible for the environment. E. coli comes from poo. Factory farms create giant lakes of poo, manure. This seeps into the ground water and irrigation and that’s why we see bizarre food contamination stories about fecal bacteria on strawberries, melons, etc. Vegetables don’t defecate! This problem of factory farming is the standard and mostly operated by undocumented workers because the work and conditions are atrocious. The corrupt USDA is run by the food corporations themselves. Transparent corruption, like the FDA’s program where Pharma can purchase approvals for new drugs for money (kickbacks, really)

    And the war on drugs pretends to be concerned about deaths, yet pharma kills more per year than all the DEA drug targets. Tobacco kills even more. The food supply is degenerating into an unpredictable and unwholesome, over-processed, over-packaged joke on nutrition.

    There are so many inconsistencies and contradictions in the broken government, oversized and over-budgeted. They waste money imprisoning people in for-profit prisons for a non-crime when they could be collecting tax revenues for legalization and sale of cannabis, whose use is. not. a. crime. and the government’s fake, paternalistic “concern” for people’s health is breathtakingly absurd.

    Maryland can change too if the people tell their elected officials to stop being any one of these general explanations for why we people still allow the absurd cannabis prohibition and war on some drugs, to still exist. They’re either:

    spineless pansies
    motivated by personal enrichment
    intellectually dishonest or
    plain ignorant

  4. @ Brian,

    I reread the article, and I can see your point about the fairly high tax on an ounce just for wholesale. However, I still applaud the effort at legalization. My feeling is, let’s try to legalize first–then we’ll iron out the details. It doesn’t always work well in practice, it’s true, but it’s still better than pot being illegal in Maryland. I wonder if booze had similar road bumps when prohibition was ended in 1932(?).

  5. i Agree With The Legalization Of Marijuana. I Have Been Trying To Figure Out For A Long Time Why It Hasnt Been Legalized Yet Alcohol Is Legal And It Causes For Damage Than Marijuana Alone….., But The True Fact Is That Whether Marijuana Is Legalized Or Not It Will Stilled be Used And Abused By Many People….

  6. You guys need to stop worrying about high taxes. The fact that it’s being legalized after decades of false information regarding marijuana use should be enough. Sure, it’s a high tax, but legalization is obviously the first hurdle. Taxes and appropriation of funds need to be second. It’s about priority.

  7. I’d like to drive to Hagerstown and buy bud legally. It’s better than buying from smack-heads or killers. I’m serious. I’d also get the same price as everyone else then, too. You gotta Smoke weed everyday!

  8. I think that the pot that is confiscated by any law enforcement unit should be destroyed because no one can tell if the way it was grown was done in a healthy way. Who knows what those plants ate as they grew and the mess that is made in a bust cut and dry destroy it. This is also a good policy for any medicine or food or beverage produced for public consumption, to know where it came from and was it procured in a clean and healthy environment. This cannot be determined by anyone but the grower. Sure there might be an exception but who will take the fall if some confiscated marijuana makes someone ill. There is already a known standard for the trade. Grow the best most palatable plants for the best use of this herb, for the best health of the partaker. Blessings Michael lr

  9. If you are old enough to serve in our military you are old enough to smoke or drink, including marijuana. The one that would create the least harm to anyone is the marijuana and therefore. maybe twenty one would be a good age to start any of the above. As we know drinking and driving can and does cause unnecessary deaths. Besides the one only smoking marijuana is either working or sitting on the couch, mostly, no time for partying.

  10. I would absolutely welcome a $50 tax on an ounce of cannabis compared to the laws currently in force here in tobacco country Virginia!

  11. Is 50 an ounce, 10K start up, and 5K to renew each year really too much people? Have you done the math? I didn’t see the part about 18 plant limit but even still, try to follow. 18 plants, lets say 1lb. per plant thats 16 ounces, now we’re at 288 onces, at 250 an oz thats $72,000, minus tax and registration($24400) and your left with $47,600! From one person, from one 10 month grow. still too high?

  12. Who cares about the tax, in Colorado where its legal the prices are way lower than street prices by a lot, it will probably end up cheaper than it is for us now

  13. Regardless of the specific details written into legalization of cannabis, regardless of unavoidable vampire taxes that inflate a too-large and too-incompetent govt. bureacracy…when 66% or 2/3 of states (33 of them) legalize, regardless of fine print lechery and fleecing, in the end, it’ll be legal in all states (let Maryland be one of the thirty-three states to take a stand). At that point, interstate commerce of cannabis will be minor detail, and the invisible hand of market trends will assume its role. People won’t have to pay premiums in one state when it is legal in all of them.

    It is more important to simply pass the legislation, regardless of earmarks or “special” conditions of legalization, or temporary nuisances.

  14. Tim, I completely agree. At this point legalization is now a matter of when not if. I live in Maryland, and unfortunately when I contacted my representative (Justin Ready) urging him to support this issue, he responded (albeit in a timely manner) that he currently supports medical marijuana but not full legalization.

    Disappointed as I was to his response the fact that even Republicans are starting to sway on this issue is a positive sign for the future.

  15. When is the vote taking place?
    It’s about time and I don’t smoke or drink but it is so obvious that alcohol is far more dangerous and once weed is legal, no one will need to contact the dealers that sell a lot more then just weed and our jail cells won’t be overloaded with good people that do not belong there.

  16. That tax is outrageous. That point aside, I really hope this passes. Marijuana should NOT by illegal in the first place. I’ve seen countless drunk drivers on the road, swerving all over the place and nearly causing accidents (even during the middle of the day). Yet all the cars I’ve been behind that reek of weed, not one of them has ever driven poorly.

    I was locked up for selling marijuana a few years ago. It was the only way I could afford food and gas when I was homeless. I refused to live in my mom’s house because my sister was using heroin and my mom was somehow just ok with it. Two years later, my sister is dead after four overdoses, and I’m on unemployment because I’m unable to get a job with my weed record.

    Let’s do the right thing and take the cops’ focus off of marijuana so they can take care of the real drug problems in this state. We need to get these weed-smoking “criminals” out of our jails and back into the workforce, so that we have room in our cells for the real bad guys. I’ve seen so many people the past few years die from drug overdoses or drug related accidents. And not one of them had anything to do with marijuana.

    It’s time to end the weed prohibition. It is not dangerous. It is no more a gateway drug than cigarettes or alcohol (or even Robitussin and prescription meds). And there are many people out there with health problems who would benefit from this.

    I always assumed Maryland would be one of the first states to legalize marijuana, so I have faith that this will pass.

  17. Hello Fellow Tokers
    It is great to be alive and witness something I have been waiting for 40 years for emancipation, and it is bitter sweet. I see all the ugliness of the war on drugs. How their misguided attempts to crush our cause.We have persevered. Now it is a crucial time and we have to continue to fight to free ourselves from over 40 years of subjugation. Fueled by prejudice, propaganda, and a relentless effort of some fat-cat oil investors hoping to bring about to manipulate the system to undermine progressive alternate.

  18. If you going to regulate it like alcohol and tobacco..the tax should be the same!

    Look, for one thing they have the 411 on Cannabis, they already know the positive health benefits…how much they have already destroyed or put back on the steeets for sale…after taking majority of the tricones off it!!!

    Taz with the same tax as Alcohol and cigarettes!!

  19. I am very proud of my State MD, for some of our leaders; like Dr. Cohan and D-Curt Anderson to take a stand for ending the marijuana prohibition laws!!
    I give my support!..GO for it MARYLANDERS!!!

  20. “~a tax i would love to pay.”
    Zachary please don’t ever repeat that, accept a tax on something because you understand an underlying need for such (ie it’s actually covering a known expense), or accept it as the necessary bribe (as in this case) to have one of your freedoms restored in a limited fashion, but for god sakes don’t say you love it.

    50$ a ounce is steep, and it’s not set as a static amount,it’s set to inflate by CPI each year (translated for Maryland that’s averaging between and additional 1-2$ per year increase). I think that amount even off the bat is likely right at the borderline of providing incentive for black-market players.

    The bills transport restrictions for commerce between retailers and wholesalers are not realistic. Another tax is the state wants you to pay 100$ per zip tie (per year) to tag every plant with as well – think license plate\registration per plant. The fees for retailer\wholesaler registration are equally out of whack, 5k application fee, $10k first year if approved and 5k yearly renewals. Frankly this is not the bill you are looking for as written, one of the most restrictive and expensive I’ve read through, it’s clearly a bill aimed at one thing – revenue generation. This bill needs serious work.

    First bill though that I’ve seen mandate branding and born-on dating at the wholesalers level. lol

  21. Yes Danny it’s too high, you didn’t subtract any actual production and operational costs other then state excise tax and registration fees, you know like energy, agro materials, if inside lighting and related electrical and hvac, it add up quick son.

  22. Read the definition on the books marijuana is only classified as being “Sativa” by definition and law if you have pure “indica” you are not in violation of fed or state law read the penil code from cover to cover ….the pen is mightier then they think

  23. I am a conservative and have fully supported legalization/decriminalization for near 20 years. I don’t smoke it, however feel similar to many of the stakeholders on here. Don’t get behind the wheel, and don’t blow it in my face, and we are good.

    The government needs to stop spending billions on enforcement, courts, and jails for marijuana. Let the consumer go to 7-11 rather than the drug dealer that sells harder chems. Tax it, keeping it at a consumer friendly price point, and use tax revenue to fund education & addiction.

    Best of luck. I’m sick and tired of spending tax payer dollars criminalizing marijuana.

  24. I can’t believe this! I was arrested in maryland with 2 ounces about 10 years ago, ruined my life for a period of time. Now they want to legalize it. Since moved to CA. Only wish they had come to their senses 10 years ago.

  25. “It would instruct the Maryland comptroller to license marijuana retail stores, wholesale facilities and testing facilities and apply an excise tax of $50 per ounce on wholesale sales. ”
    It’s a plant people. It should be way less than 50 us dollars per ounce. Let alone tax’ed 50.00. When will all this greed stop and people wake up. Grow it, give it away. Plant it everywhere!

  26. I’ve notified my reps through Norml’s and MPP’s site, but have not heard back yet. I guess I’ll have to call them dudes up.

  27. It is not going to work very well if the tax is $50.00 per ounce is way to much tax. $5.00, 10.00 tops for an ounce. The black market will prevail if you make it too expensive.

  28. 50 per ounce just too damn much I could see maybe 10 percent but I guess I’ll just have to keep buying it illegally…

  29. Hi my name is shawn. I was struck by a car back in febuary while I was working on the side of the road for state highway administration. I am 21 years old. From the accident I suffered a full body trauma broken leg, broken jaw, brain injury, traumatic brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus injury is the omly lasting injury, my arm is still fully paralyzed. Doctors do believe it is goimg to work again but take a long time. I took no meds befire the accident now I am on methadone and lyrica for pain relief but it still dosent work well. When Ismoke marijuana thr pain completely goes away.. I now suffer from depression I take welbutrin and zoloft, but it works but not well.. I rarley can laugh when I and not smoking marijuana because when I smoke marijuana I laugh smile and just have a better qualoty life.. I take oxycodone fir the pain in my leg and when I have pain in my working arm from over use.. It works but not very welk .. When I smoke marijuana it takes the pain away..lawmakes need to make marijuans legal because the sale of it would fix the economy from creating job. Everyone would feel better, instead of people treating there pain with the highly addictive ocycodone and other narcotics. Instead they could smoke the non addictive drug .. Weed!! I have seen and heard of so many storys of people breaking bones and thry get perscribe opioids or narcotics and they end up developing a addictionthen they start abusing them and then so on and so on then they end up trying heroin and ruin there life.. This bill needs to be passed I meen its a must.

  30. they should stop paying attention on bust marijuana when they could use the money to bust the drugs that ACTUALLY HARM YOU!

  31. all I have to say is wut ever happen to “land of the free”?? america has gone curropt yrs ago..Shit are own constitution was written on hemp paper..then greedy people cried bout not having money from their trees & lumber mills, & the hate war began..grow up & stay true to wut america is really spose to stand for.the opportunity for freedom & a better way of life, nsted of holding everyone down by rules like hitler minus the manslaughter..

  32. You could certainly see your expertise in the work you write

    All those looking for the reliable and natural legal budsmust be aware of a few features that they should consider while makingthe selection. Potency, natural make, and quality are a few that must be sought for.

  33. Cannabis is probably the world’s most popular casual use drug that is illegal in most nations. It has become so widespread that many people wouldn’t think twice about asking to light up at a friend’s or to smoke in public places. It is an ancient drug that has been used throughout history for medical, magical, and pleasurable purposes. Thanks to the scare-tactics of propaganda in the 1960s and 1970s, there are many myths surrounding the drug – this list intends to put things straight once and for all.

    Fat Storage

    Cc Upinsmoke Ms 5

    Myth: Cannabis’ active ingredient THC gets stored in body fat and its effects can last days or even weeks

    Fact: It is true that cannabis (like many other drugs) enters the body’s fat stores, and it is for this reason that it can be detected long after use, but that is the only part of this myth which is true. The fact is, the psychoactive aspects of the stored cannabis are used up quickly and while the residue of the drug remains, it no longer has any effect on the person. Furthermore, the presence of THC in body fat is not harmful to the fat, the brain, or any other part of the body.


    Memory Loss


    Myth: Cannabis use causes memory loss and a general reduction in logic and intelligence

    Fact: This is another myth which has elements of truth to it – no doubt the reason it is believed by so many. Laboratory tests have shown that cannabis diminishes the short term memory – but only when a person is intoxicated with it. A person who has taken cannabis will be able to remember things learned before they took it but may have trouble learning new information during intoxication. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to suggest that this can become a long-term or permanent problem when sober.

    Scientific Proof


    Myth: Cannabis has been scientifically proven to be harmful

    Fact: Let us start with a quote: “the smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health.” This quote comes from the peer-reviewed British medical journal The Lancet (founded in 1823). There is certainly no scientific consensus on cannabis use, and certainly no scientific proof that casual use is dangerous to health.

    Loss of Motivation


    Myth: Cannabis use causes apathy and a lack of motivation

    Fact: In fact, studies done on test subjects in which they were given a high dose of cannabis regularly over a period of days or weeks found that there was no loss in motivation or ability to perform. Of course, abuse of any intoxicating substance over long periods will reduce a person’s ability to function normally, but cannabis is no better or worse. Furthermore, studies indicate that cannabis users tend to have higher paid jobs than non-users.

    Crime Statistics


    Myth: Cannabis causes crime

    Fact: Some people believe that cannabis use leads to violence and aggression, and that this, in turn, leads to crime. But the facts just don’t stack up. Serious research into this area has found that cannabis users are often less likely to commit crimes because of its effect in reducing aggression. Having said that, because of the number of nations that have outlawed cannabis, most users in the world are technically classified as criminals merely for possessing the drug.


    Picture 1-67

    Myth: Cannabis kills brain cells

    Fact: Cannabis does not cause any profound changes in a person’s mental ability. It is true that after taking the drug some people can experience panic, paranoia, and fright, these effects pass and certainly don’t become permanent. It is possible for a person to consume so much of the drug that they suffer from toxic psychosis, but again this is not unique to cannabis and is very rare.

    Gateway to Other Drugs

    Picture 2-45

    Myth: Cannabis is a gateway drug – in other words, it leads to abuse of more potent drugs

    Fact: For most people, cannabis is a terminus drug, not a gateway drug. Users of high strength drugs such as heroin or LSD are also statistically more likely to have used cannabis in the past, but this is just toying with statistics; when comparing the number of cannabis users with hard-drug users, the numbers are extremely small – suggesting that there is no link at all.

    Modern Potency


    Myth: Cannabis is more potent now than in the past

    Fact: The reason that this myth has come about is that samples taken by drug enforcement agencies are used to test for potency but they are a tiny sample of the cannabis on the market. The vast majority of cannabis taken today is the same potency as it has been for decades. In fact, even if the potency were greatly higher, it would make little difference to the user as cannabis of varying potency produces very similar effects. Furthermore, there is statistical data on cannabis potency dating back to the 1980s which is more reliable than present methods of detection, and that shows little or no increase.

    Lung Damage


    Myth: Cannabis is more damaging to the lungs than cigarettes

    Fact: First of all, people who smoke cannabis but not cigarettes tend to smoke far less frequently – thereby limiting their exposure to the dangers in the smoke. Furthermore, smokers of cannabis are not inhaling the many additives that go into commercial cigarettes to make them burn down faster or to stay alight. There has even been some evidence that marijuana smoke does not have the same effect on the bronchial tubes as cigarette smoke, so even heavy use may not lead to emphysema.

    Cannabis and Addiction

    Picture 3-18

    Myth: Cannabis is highly addictive

    Fact: Less than one percent of Americans smoke cannabis more than once per day. Of the heavy users, a tiny minority develop what appears to be a dependence and rely on the assistance of drug rehabilitation services to stop smoking but there is nothing in cannabis which causes physical dependence and the most likely explanation for those who need assistance is that they are having difficulty breaking the habit – not the “addiction”.

    This list was inspired by the excellent work of the .

    1. Mellinger, G.D. et al. “Drug Use, Academic Performance, and Career Indecision: Longitudinal Data in Search of a Model.” Longitudinal Research on Drug Use: Empirical Findings and Methodological Issues. Ed. D.B. Kandel. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1978. 157-177.
    2. Johnson, L.D., et al. “Drugs and Delinquency: A Search for Causal Connections.” Ed. D.B. Kandel. Longitudinal Research on Drug Use: Empirical Findings and Methodological Issues. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1978. 137-156.
    3. Schreiber, W.; A. M. Pauls and J. C. Kreig (February 5, 1988). “[Toxic psychosis as an acute manifestation of diphenhydramine poisoning]“. Deutsche medizinische Wochenschrift 113 (5): 180–183. PMID 3338401.
    4. Degenhardt, Louisa, Wayne Hall and Michael Lynskey. “Testing hypotheses about the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis,” Drug and Alcohol Dependence 71 (2003): 42-4.
    5. King LA, Carpentier C, Griffiths P. “Cannabis potency in Europe.” Addiction. 2005 Jul; 100(7):884-6
    6. Turner, Carlton E. The Marijuana Controversy. Rockville: American Council for Drug Education, 1981.
    7. Stephens, R.S., et al. “Adult marijuana users seeking treatment.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 61 (1993): 1100-1104.

  34. I’m so pleased that this bill is getting the attention and support it deserves. A few weeks ago I used the Action Links on NORML’s state page on Maryland to contact our state Senator and Representative as well as the State representative for Montgomery County, and my county’s rep actually sent me a letter back in which he expressed his support for the legalization of cannabis. That action alone shows me that at least some people in our government are willing to do what’s right, instead of continuing to spread lies and contributing to the crimes and life-ruining criminal charges associated with the underground “Black Market” for cannabis that has been caused by the policy of prohibition.

    As many of you have mentioned, the current bill would impose an extremely high tax on a product that can be grown and prepared with very little cost. While this certainly seems unfair to your average user, it’s certainly better to have cannabis legalized and taxed to excess than to be thrown in jail and have your future all but taken away due to a harmless activity. As others have said, we can always smooth over the rough spots after the law has been in effect for a while; that way we can address problems that we may not have prepared for, while allowing people to smoke without fear of arrest and criminal charges while the government does its usual thing and takes forever to come to a simple decision…:)

    But in fairness, in regards to the issue of cannabis legalization, I am very proud of my state (at least, on this issue; I can’t say the same for Maryland’s already excessive taxes and unfair laws that hurt businesses, but that’s another discussion altogether:))

    And remember, if this law ends up dying during this legislative season, at least we can know that more and more people are waking up to the truth about prohibition and cannabis, and each successive season more and more people will be more likely to vote in favor of sane marijuana policy, and step onto the right side of history on the issue of marijuana.

  35. Hello Fellow Tokers
    The only problem I see is the $50 tax on an ounce. Are you kidding me, that is way to high, and the black market will prevail. Maryland legislators definitely have to adjust that, other than that. Looks good Listen to NORML they will help you.
    That brings to mind, How much I love the people at NORML. What would it be like if not for NORML?? I thank you NORML, and the check is in the mail. $100. My norml donations is $25,per month I just raised it, from $20.00,to $25 dollars a month that is only $.83 cents a day.Come on people,don’t just talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. NORML needs Money, they a non-profit organization, So where does their money come from? DONATION’S so do your part to help NORML,help us.Get your checkbook, credit card or debit card. Or you can scrape off the top, and buy a certified check or money order, and send it to NORML. Be generous

    People at NORML are going to all the states to smooth ruffled feathers, and focus on legalization, process. NORML will help them.But that takes money, hotel,food car rental’s the list goes on and on.

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