Despite the federal government’s best efforts to deter states from cannabis legalization, another state could very well be on its way to legalizing the plant, as Maryland has begun the process of potentially implementing a new bill that would legalize recreational cannabis throughout the state. That’s right: this state could be next to vote on recreational marijuana.
Is Maryland Next?
Although legalization remains a large possibility, Maryland residents remain at odds over the passing of Senate Bill 1039, which would effectively make recreational cannabis legal.
Under the proposed legislation, those over 21 could purchase and carry up to an ounce of cannabis and grow as many as six plants for both personal and shared use.
On Tuesdays, lawmakers, advocates and prohibitionists met in Annapolis to discuss the pros and cons of recreational cannabis legalization.
Supporters argued that the inception of recreational cannabis could help keep people out of jail for petty marijuana crimes while providing funding for local municipalities.
“To be honest with you, I think it’s past time. It’s something that causes thousands of people every year to enter into the criminal justice system,” said Kate Bell of the Marijuana Policy Project. “In fact, we’ve seen some of the funding raised from legalization go to public education programs for people.”
Opponents pointed to potential road havoc caused by the recreational use of THC, considering there’s no suitable way to prohibit and regulate driving under the influence of cannabis. Ragina Cooper Averella of AAA says to look no further than the influx of fatal car crashes and arrests since the plant was legalized back in 2014.
“How does the user know that they’re safe to drive? it’s not like alcohol where you can say at .08 you’re considered legally drunk,” Cooper said. “At this point, we know that the state of Maryland is woefully ill-prepared to deal with the consequences of legalizing marijuana here in the state.”
Final Hit: This State Could Be Next To Vote On Recreational Marijuana
Although the bill would need an approval from state lawmakers before Maryland residents can vote on the legislation themselves, the fact that lawmakers are willing to at least hear pit both sides of the spectrum should bode well for potential legalization.
If Maryland does manage to get the bill passed, it will mark yet another victory for cannabis legalization in 2018.
On the first day of the new year, California successfully legalized recreational pot, becoming the biggest state in the U.S. to do so. Additionally, both Pennsylvania and Texas have managed to unveil the first medical dispensary in each states’ respective history.
And don’t forget about New Jersey, who continues to inch closer to recreational cannabis under the new leadership of Gov. Phil Murphy, who has made it his goal to legalize the plant since replacing anti-cannabis conservative Chris Christie.