Maryland: Governor Signs Marijuana Reform Measures Into Law

Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley today signed two separate pieces of legislation reforming the state’s marijuana laws.

Senate Bill 364 amends existing 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 depenalization law takes effect on October 1, 2014.

House Bill 881 seeks to provide for the state-licensed production and dispensing of marijuana to qualified patients who possess a written certification from their physician. The new law will take effect on June 1, 2014, at which time the state shall establish a commission to draft rules and regulations overseeing the production and distribution of medical marijuana. However, the licensing program is not anticipated to be up and running until 2015.

Maryland is the 18th state to depenalize minor marijuana possession offenses to a non-arrestable offense. It is the 21st state to allow for the doctor-recommended access to medicinal cannabis.

26 thoughts

  1. About time. This is Great for a 1st step to legalize. Marlyand is prime to want the tax revenues so lets keep pushing. Thanks norml

  2. That’s great, but MEANwhile another DemocRAT LIAR CUOMO REFUSES
    to do anything for the sick in New York State. Maybe he is making too much $$$ to NOT ALLOW medical marijuana in OUR state.

  3. The de-criminalization bill still needs to be abolished…period.

    Thank you, Governor O”Malley , Heather Mizure, and Norml for giving us hope ; that we can have better living conditions because of Cannabis.

    Those illnesses, no one could explain can now be counted as symptoms of: putting Cannabis back into our body systems where it belongs.

  4. Unfortunately, Maryland did not decriminalize possession of paraphernalia. So anything you can use to smoke or store this stuff is still a criminal offense punishable by time in prison.

    Thanks for nothing, Maryland.

  5. I hope this is done properly with more decriminalization coming and the focus on healing and compassion for the patients who are helped with Cannabis.I wish the “thuggish neanderthals” in my state Pa. , would remove the hate filled attitude they have towards recreational/medical cannabis, it is sad to live in a state full of “thuggish neanderthals” such as Pennsylvania.

  6. Maryland and Governor O’Malley just made history. The east coast needs smarter policy to stop arresting people for possession and will soon find themselves with a windfall of money to spend on education and fighting violent crime.

    People love their weed so don’t panic when someone lights up in public. Just give them a fine or better yet ask them to light up somewhere less conspicuous. I would rather take an edible or vape myself, it’s a better use of the herb anyway.

    Legal access is the next step to fighting crime, the safety of our police and public. Many people still don’t like the idea of legalizing cannabis but it is so much safer than alcohol and cigarettes. Smarter policy based on science is the answer.

    Eric Holder wants our Congress involved with our nations drug policy reform. This takes our president off the hook and encourages our nation to vote for politicians who support marijuana prohibition reform. Smart move Mr. Holder, a new congress is overdue, the one we have now sucks.

    Republican or Democrat I know I am voting for one issue this November, smarter marijuana prohibition laws based on science. Florida is even getting this issue on the ballot to encourage voter turnout. This November election needs to be huge. If you as a parent don’t want your kid getting locked up for simple possession and ruining his or her life than let’s unite and change how our elected officials view this issue.

    Every day our teenagers are exposed to cannabis at school, educate them to say no until they are old enough to be responsible with it. But if they choose to experiment with cannabis or any other drug don’t arrest them. Please don’t arrest them any more.

    Marijuana prohibition is wrong, it was created for one reason, to keep people of color sub servant to the white population. Personally I don’t care if my son dates a black Mexican girl.

  7. THIS IS A JOKE! They want to keep arresting people. It is hard for these bureaucrats to give up money. This makes more than 1/4 ounce a serious offense. It makes government looks like it is helping by this kind of window dressing move. In Florida FOX NEWS is saying that char lets web is ok for patients because it does not get you high. You get a buzz from most strong pain pills. The high that it gives in some patients is what stops them from getting nauseous. It is their idea that if you have cancer and have one leg on a full moon you can get medical marijuana. If not your fair game. After 70 years of propaganda, lies and ruined lives our stupid,stupid leaders still can not get it right. PRISONS AND PROBATION FOR PROFIT ARE THE END OF AMERICAN FREEDOM. STOP CASH REGISTER JUSTICE OR YOU WILL ALL END UP WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF SERVING TIME FOR SOMETHING. VOTE OUT OLD BUREAUCRATS.

  8. The way things are now, we might as well be locked up and in jail as a nation…they want every thing encluiding your mind, your money, your liberty, your freedom, and no more pursuit of anything worthwhile having let along BE! No wonder Alex Jones calls it “Prison planet” and it’s for a good reason…we have the freedom to smoke but no the freedom to enjoy what we work for, slave for, without it being a $100.00 fine…how stupid are our officials for drunning up this tacky rule. I wished we had more reasonable congressional writer, who can give better legal jargon..when it comes to Cannabis use and everything associated with it.

    Watch out for all the stupid stuff coming up about the paraphenallia, or where we can smoke, how we can smoke, and around what places, with a joint, blunt, pipe Oe whatever way we choose to…

  9. Don’t let what happen that took place in Colorado. Can’t smoke in your living space…ok were cool when it comes to our children…let them go out to school before we smoke..
    As parents we know how to handle our business
    But you as congressional leaders we’ve found you to have been smoking a longtime..scared to come out in the open with your use of all kinds of drug use, until medical marijuana started to spread like wilfire. Now you want to short change the Cannabis community be getting on the band wag on of profit, now that science has proven you dead wrong. Your finding ways of destroying peoples lives is uncanny, better yet you have no taste, and no class, and no Character. Ya’ll need to STOP the INSANITY!!!

  10. Watch out for all the stupid information coming up about the paraphenallia products, or where we can smoke, how much we can smoke, and around what places, with a joint, blunt, pipe Or whatever way we choose to…LEGALIZE MARIJUANA NOW!!!

    But it is ok to already put Cannabis products on the market so they can make it accessible anyway for humac consumption..without THC, DBD, or DCB…making money$$$ whether we like it or not.

    I want a piece of that business too!!!but $500,000 is a bit much to start-up a business without some help…Help Me!

    Stop the INSANITY for everybody on this Planet, from using Free Energy; when we all set our minds towards something positive as a nation, we prosper in the things God has provided for US as a whole Being! Blessed be He that Blesses thee!

  11. While this is a nice step forward for my home state of Maryland, as a chronically ill patient that would qualify for such a program (and for that matter, a student working towards his MD prior to becoming to ill to do so!), I am worried that a lack of certain elements in the bill itself, and the time frames involved leave much to be desired!

    First of all, I am most surprised that, from the reading of the bill, that physicians and practitioners need to be somehow “approved” to recommend marijuana? Unless the committee decides to consider “approval” to be “Any licensed physician to practice medicine in the State of Maryland”, this worries me that it will be a time consuming process for physicians to be qualified and create many barriers to affordable patient access. There is NO reason not to allow every Maryland physician the ability to recommend cannabis. There are very few new drugs or treatments in which physicians must be particularly granted access to prescribe outside of their state license and controlled substance DEA authorization number. Why add this pointless barrier to care and additional hardship on physicians and patients alike?

    Next, in a related concern, the fact that the bill does not allow for personal-use patient cultivation and non-profit patient co-op cultivation, is a huge issue. 15 dispensaries in the state is not going to be able to satisfy the needs of the populace! This limited amount of dispensaries and thus product will encourage high prices and create a monopoly amongst those granted licenses, not to mention causing ill people to have to journey likely a long distance to find the nearest dispensary! Especially without a provision in the bill mandating that insurance companies cover medical marijuana under their drug benefits, the prices will skyrocket in light of relatively low supply and huge demand! Being chronically ill is expensive enough without having to deal with dispensaries making money hand over fist from their exclusivity. Patients and non-profit co-ops need the ability to grow their own medicine and not just for financial reasons. Those like myself who would seek out particular strains and only partake of cannabis grown to USDA Organic standards or better may not have the option to do so, if the dispensaries don’t stock what we seek! Worrisome indeed.

    Furthermore, the time it takes to implement the bill as written is worrisome. It shouldn’t take a year or more before patients start getting access to this quality-of-life improving medication. Actually, if my above suggestions were added, this problem would be solved. If any physician could recommend cannabis from this day forth and said recommendation would be valid until the time as formal cards would be printed up (as done in other MMJ states), while patients/co-ops could grow their own medication for non-sale, personal consumption only, then we’d have an immediate improvement in the quality of life!

    Sadly, it doesn’t seem that will happen unless we raise our voices! NORML staff – would anyone know exactly who, now that this has been signed into law, we need to contact to deal with particulars such as patient cultivation, dispensary access, physician qualification etc… ? I am guessing that the “The Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission” is going to be in charge of such things, if it has yet been created? Do we still need to speak to our State Representatives? Somewhere else? Perhaps if enough of us write to the correct place, we can get these policies implemented, as it seems that bill itself leaves some of the requirements and whatnot up to this Committee! Ideas?

    [Editor’s note: Maryland already had established a medical marijuana commission, and they will be involved in the slow roll out of the state’s newly enhanced program.]

  12. I don’t know why they don’t look at the numbers and realize that we could help our depict with the taxes they will charge us. look at co. they made 3.2 million in tax revenue in feb alone. come on just tax it like alcohol and cigarettes and before we know it we will have a surplus of funds in our broke government. i have a son who drank himself to needing a live and kidney from drinking but if he would have smoked that much he would not needed a transplant. there’s another subject we can talk about. how bad is alcohol is for our body and how many deaths are from alcohol NOT WEED.

  13. We need to take the proper steps and enforce the proper regulations so that we may utilize medicinal cannabis for its proper use and it may benefit many individuals suffering from certain illnesses.

  14. Maryland, grow-up and STOP dragging your feet. Why are we still being promissed help after 5 years, and still not seeing any results; except that, get-out-of-jail-free-card which helps, and bring the justice back to their lives, which is a plus. Now!We want grow our own cannabis and purchase some other products, we might want from a Dispensary. LEGALIZE IT! STOP PLAY WITH PEOPLE’S LIVES.
    I communicated with Dr Cohen, when he was starting this commission on cannabis, and expressed a desire to be on that panel. Now that you have not succeed in your ability to open the doors in the State of Maryland as of yet! When do you plan to open?
    I also worked to promote Heather Muzuri & Dr Coates who ran for Govenor and Lt. Gov., in MD, and for legislature to approve Legalization of Cannabis! Also through since 2014.
    Follow the Compassionate Act of this State and the ACA, of the Fed Gov’t; did you not consider this? Do something positive to help the health of the people of this State…show some REAL COMPASSION! Legalize Cannabis…so we can all breathe!

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