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Maryland Marijuana Legalization May Be Headed To Ballot

The Maryland Legislature may place a voter referendum on legalizing adult-use marijuana on state ballots in 2022.

NORML

The Maryland Legislature may place a voter referendum on legalizing marijuana on state ballots in 2022, reports WTOP.

Text of the proposed legislation is by Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City), chairman of Maryland’s House Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Workgroup. That group formed last summer to study the issue.

Clippinger has already pre-filed the House bill to place the question on the 2022 ballot, House Bill 1. It will drop when the Maryland General Assembly convenes on Jan. 12, 2022.

If passed by the Legislature, the bill will set up the following referendum question for voters:

“Do you favor the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Maryland?”

Law Could Take Effect As Early As July 2023

If the referendum is successful, the Maryland Legislature would add an amendment to the state constitution. The amendment would legalize the use and possession of Cannabis by Maryland adults 21 and older.

As already written, that law that would go into effect as early as July 2023.

The bill has a steep climb in the Maryland Legislature. A simple majority vote won’t feed the bulldog. In order for the question to even make it to the ballot? It must be approved by three-fifths of members of both the Maryland House and Senate.

The Legislature still needs to develop rules on the “use, distribution, possession, regulation, and taxation of cannabis within the state.”

What About All That Money?

Among the biggest questions, of courses, is what to do with the bounteous tax revenue that comes from legal marijuana sales. One proposal focuses upon using that money to help support communities negatively affected by enforcement of “drug crimes” now considered minor.

A Goucher College survey last spring showed that, among 725 Maryland residents asked about legalizing marijuana, about 65% were in favor. A similar poll in 2019 showed 57% were in favor.

A key difference, according to Mileah Kromer of the Goucher’s Hughes Field Politics Center, is that support among Maryland Republicans reached 50% for the first time.

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