Maryland: Lawmakers To Debate Marijuana Legalization Bill Tomorrow

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 thoughts

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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…

  7. Go Maryland!

    I wonder what happened at the Philly conference.

    This just in about Copenhagen looking at legalization.

    I like the wording in the article that the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs “controls the production and sale of cannabis.”

    Actually, it doesn’t. It doesn’t regulate it, or control who can trade it or sell it. About all it does is prohibit it legally, which doesn’t control it. In fact, the drug war is such a failure that cannabis is out of control, out of control of governments everywhere.

    http://cphpost.dk/national/life-after-cannabis-prohibition-city-announces-its-ambitions

  8. The decay of liberty at the hands of greedy corporations and politicians runs amuck as always, but change is inevitable.

  9. Good luck, we are all rooting for you. We believe in you and this cause and you have our support!! Thank you to all involved in presenting this bill.

  10. This is a great thing for Marylanders to tax it and build more money for this state come on y’all we so close east coast need to make stand like the west coast did

  11. I live in Virginia and it would be amazing to be able to take a short drive to be able to consume legally for the first time in my life; as I approach age 60!

    I sincerely hope that MD legalizes with all my heart and hope that VA politicians will soon do the same.

  12. It’s about time to end this prohibition! Everybody likes a nice joint and nobody likes to be told they can’t have one. It’s fact that prohibition doesn’t work.

  13. It was nice to see you there Allen. I testified. Red Head, Blue Shirt. Hope to see you again and actually introduce myself. I would like to get involved in any way, so, If you need to reach out. Four Four Three 4 Five 8 Eighty Seven Hundred

  14. Go go Maryland! Let’s get this done state by state! Does it feel like we are turning the corner to anyone else?

  15. Why make it legal I ask myself this question, and here is what I came up with.
    People do not overdose on cannabis. I’ve never heard of marijuana poisoning, have you? The side effects of cannabis use is much less severe then alcohol.
    Marijuana is a natural plant, jeez its been here longer then us. Scientist spend countless amounts of time, and dollars to preserve endangered plants, but the government says marijuana should not grow on our soil.
    Money, yes money. Marijuana is a booming business. People have been purchasing it for years, and there has been only an up rise in sales. The government can tax the production of marijuana, just as it does corn, wheat, and tobacco. This can generate loads of income for our states, to help balance the budget.

  16. So what was the outcome in MD yesterday?

    [Paul Armentano responds: The Committee took testimony yesterday. Both NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre and Communications Director Erik Altieri testified in favor of HB 1453. You can read Allen’s written testimony to the Committee here:

    http://norml.org/library/item/written-testimony-in-favor-of-house-bill-1453?category_id=596

    Representatives from MPP, NAACP, LEAP, and the ACLU testified in favor of the measure.

    The Committee Chair has not yet called HB 1453 for a vote. You can track its history here:

    http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&stab=03&id=hb1453&tab=subject3&ys=2013RS

    Here’s a media story on the hearing:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/20/maryland-marijuana-legalization_n_2913685.html.%5D

  17. I have mild asburgers and pot has been the only thing that will slow my mind down enough to apply my self to anything I have a relative that works at a collige makeing micro chip machines says most of his inventions over the years he did stoned major universeaty

  18. I’d love to know the outcome too. I think I read they would be talking about gun control and wikipedia shows in 2011 they never even entertained a similar bill which makes me sad.

    Violent gun use would go down with legalization. If only they would see that.

    Please write Maryland house rep’s to see this through, they only have 3 weeks left in general session. I’ve already written them twice. 🙂

  19. I watched on a live feed on mga website. Next year I will come to testify if it does not pass this year.I say that because if Maryland does not pass this bill or something like it Maryland will be out just that much more tax money.Nationwide legalization is coming sooner or later

  20. Good luck tommarow this is one Marylander who is on your side.I would love to go to a local dispencery for my meds instead of these shady a** dealers most are paranoid and others act like you owe them something for da hook up. Its time for this to stop.PLease let this pass so good people who need the meds to stop getting ripped off by the hype boys promoting half A** S*** I don’t care if you tax it we all get taxed any way this way we know what were paying for Thanx for listening and good luck

  21. It is about time this has finally come up for vote. At 60 years old it would be nice not to feel like a criminal everytime you light up. I have waited and waited for this. Hopefully our government will finaly realize the foolishness of it being illegal, they want more tax money, well here you go boys.

  22. I am a 63 year old TBI disabled adult. Marijuana is a delicate way to level my personality especially anxiety,(better than prescriptive drugs.). The tax issue needs to be addressed. I agree with some tax but amount is unreasonable. Fixed income persons would find it difficult to purchase. Move on.. my positive spirit is with this movement. =-O FINALLY THANKS not easy to locate. Yuck

  23. I support the bill but the high tax rate is punitive and will support black market trade.
    Just allow me to cultivate my needs not your limit’s.

  24. jesus h christ…i just finished 12 consecutive years n prison for sharing marijuana smoke so its a blessing to c its legalization coming to fruit!!!

  25. we need this to happen. I would like to thank NORML and everyone else associated. Please this country is going to hell this might be the only thing that can save it.

  26. I will be there. I hope I get to meet you and Sabrina. Thank you for all your tireless effort to legalize marijuana.

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