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Maryland: Reduced Marijuana Possession Penalties Take Effect

Thursday, 02 October 2014

Maryland: Reduced Marijuana Possession Penalties Take Effect

Annapolis, MD: Legislation took effect on Wednesday reducing marijuana possession penalties to a noncriminal offense.

Senate Bill 364, signed into law in April, amends statewide 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 law does not reclassify penalties involving the possession of marijuana paraphernalia, which remains a criminal offense.

A 2013 ACLU analysis of state-by-state marijuana arrests data reported that Maryland has the fourth highest rate of marijuana possession arrests in the nation.

Nearly 20 additional states, as well as the District of Columbia, now classify the minor possession of marijuana for non-medical purposes as a non-arrestable offense.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500.