On Feb. 21, Maryland Delegate Curt Anderson introduced a bill that would allow the state to regulate marijuana like alcohol. HB 1453, was referred to the Rules and Executive Nominations committee.
Like Washington and Colorado did in 2012, federal marijuana laws within the borders of Maryland would be nullified.
Described as an Act concerning Criminal Law – Marijuana – Regulation, Penalties, and Taxation, HB 1453 reads in part:
(A) EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN THIS SUBTITLE, A PERSON WHO IS 21 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER IS EXEMPT FROM ARREST, CIVIL OR CRIMINAL PENALTY, SEIZURE OR FORFEITURE OF ASSETS, DISCIPLINE BY A STATE OR LOCAL LICENSING BOARD, AND STATE PROSECUTION FOR THE FOLLOWING ACTS:
(1) ACTUALLY AND CONSTRUCTIVELY USING, OBTAINING, PURCHASING, TRANSPORTING, OR POSSESSING:
(I) 1 OUNCE OR LESS OF MARIJUANA AND THREE OR FEWER MARIJUANA SEEDLINGS OR CUTTINGS; OR
(II) A MIXTURE OR PREPARATION OF MARIJUANA, INCLUDING 5 GRAMS OR LESS OF HASHISH, 16 OUNCES OF MARIJUANA–INFUSED PRODUCT IN SOLID FORM, OR 72 OUNCES OF MARIJUANA–INFUSED PRODUCT IN LIQUID FORM, AND THREE OR FEWER MARIJUANA SEEDLINGS OR CUTTINGS;
Delegate Anderson’s legislation taxes $50 per ounce of marijuana and licenses as well as regulates the cultivators, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers. Collections go to substance abuse prevention programs. HB 1453 has garnered three co-sponsors, Delegates Jill Carter, Cheryl Glenn, and Nathaniel Oaks, all Democrats. Both the House and State Senate are 2/3 controlled by the Democratic Party, but this bill cannot be expected to pass on partisan lines.
Saying no to the unconstitutional War on Drugs, or marijuana prohibition at the very least, and reasserting control at the state level, where it belongs, is the duty of all legislators regardless of affiliation.
Tenth Amendment Center contributor Kelli Sladick hails from Baltimore, a city notorious for black market violent crime. She sees a brighter future:
“[Legalizing marijuana] would probably cut down on the amount of crime going through those areas, less people would be going to prison for a victimless crime, and maybe it would start to bring some economic recovery to some of those areas that are shells of a real city. More people would be employable since they wouldn’t have a criminal background keeping them from higher education or a job.”
Sladick is cautiously optimistic though. Because of Maryland’s proximity to Washington, D.C. and the inevitable Department of Justice response to Colorado and Washington, she foresees a likely backdown from the state legislature.
If the people of Maryland don’t make their voice heard, the feds will have the complete attention of Maryland’s Delegates and State Senators. That is not the proper way to run a constitutional republic.
The Rules and Executive Nominations Committee will hold a hearing on the bill March 19 at 1 p.m.
If you live in Maryland, contact your representatives and ask them pass HB 1453. You can find your representatives HERE.
Also contact member of the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee and urge them to pass the bill out of committee. You can find committee member contact information HERE.
To track state level marijuana legislation across the U.S., click HERE.