An industry-backed campaign to legalize adult-use marijuana in Maryland launched Thursday, reports The Washington Post. The campaign is urging voters to pick “Yes on 4,” the November ballot question about legalizing Cannabis possession for adults 21 and over.
If the measure passes, Marylanders 21 and older will be able to legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana. They will be able to legally grow two Cannabis plants, out of public view, beginning July 1, 2023. Under legislation approved by Maryland lawmakers earlier this year, the marijuana sales remain a crime.
The campaign began with a website and video urging voters to support legalization. It relies on funding from Trulieve, according to election finance filings dated Aug. 30. The company is a deep-pocketed corporation with dispensaries in eight states. Trulieve has three medical dispensaries in Maryland.
Trulieve is listed as giving $50,000 to the Yes on 4 cause. The only other donor, Blended Public Affairs, gave a hundred bucks.
Recent Polls Show Support From 62% To 70%
Lawmakers last week gave final approval to a proposed Constitutional Amendment, House Bill 1, reports NORML. The amendment asks voters: “Do you favor the legalization of adult–use cannabis in the State of Maryland?”
Voters will decide the issue in November. Recent statewide polls show that between 62 and 70 percent of Marylanders support legalization. If approved by voters, the referendum takes effect on July 1, 2023.
State lawmakers earlier this year already approved complementary legislation, HB 837. That bill defines marijuana possession limits and facilitates the automatic review and expungement of past criminal records. It has already been signed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
Should Maryland voters approve legalization, lawmakers will need to enact additional legislation next session. At that time, they will establish rules and regulations governing a legally regulated cannabis marketplace.
“Put An End To The Failed Criminalization Of Cannabis”
“Passing Question 4 will put an end to the failed criminalization of cannabis, create a well-regulated legal marijuana market centered around equity, and open up new doors for local entrepreneurs and small business owners,” Monroe says on the campaign website. “I hope every Marylander will vote yes on Question 4 this November.”
Outgoing Gov. Hogan will not obstruct implementation of Question 4, should it pass, reports Leafly.
1.5 Ounces; 2 Plants; Expungement
House Bill 837 lays out basic guidelines for the program. Adults would be able to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana. Possession of 1.5 ounces to 2.5 ounces would be subject only to a fine, and no longer a criminal offense.
The state would automatically expunge criminal records of persons convicted of crimes made legal by HB 837.
Persons previously charged with intent to distribute marijuana can petition for expungement after serving three years of their prison sentence.