Maryland will not be legalizing marijuana for recreational use this legislative session even as other states — including Virginia and New York — have approved measures.
New Jersey and the District of Columbia have also approved cannabis for recreational use and Delaware is also considering legalization proposals.
Marijuana legalization advocates for hope to bring a new legalization back to Annapolis next year. This year’s bills put a focus on earmarking legal marijuana revenue social equity efforts and communities hit hard by the “War on Drugs.”
Marijuana legalization is coming to Democratic heavy Maryland sooner or later.
Medical marijuana is already legal here. Public opinion polls both statewide and nationally show a majority of Marylanders (as well as a majority of Americans) support cannabis legalization, according to polls from Goucher College and Gallup.
We are surprised the effort has not gained more traction in our blue and progressive state. Maryland advocates hope they can come back with a new proposal that adopts the best practices of the 18 other states that have legalized pot.
We hope so too.
There are libertarian and revenue generating arguments in favor of legalization. There are also concerns about increases in DUIs and how legalization might or might not impact the use of other substances.
Where and how marijuana revenue is spent is also up for debate, though we would like to see ample investments in helping those with addiction and other behavioral health challenges as well as the aforementioned money for communities hit hard by drug laws.
A pretty good body of work is being developed among states where pot has been legalized. Maryland should have a pretty good roadmap of best practices and potential pitfalls.
One of our biggest concerns is how to craft marijuana legalization that creates a structure that is focused on small businesses and hometown growers rather than well-vested corporations backed by private equity and hedge funds.
Maryland needs to responsibly legalize marijuana, adopting best practices from other states. Pardon the pun, but we need a grassroots effort when legalization efforts are restarted here.
We want a system that expands access for those who use cannabis for medicinal purposes.We want a system that invests revenue in areas of need in our communities.We also want a system that favors small businesses and local growers.