Members of Maryland General Assembly ponder over adult-use cannabis legalization


Maryland’s 2022 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on April 12. With the session’s end looming ever closer, lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly are scurrying to accommodate three separate legislative efforts that seek to legalize adult-use cannabis statewide.

On February 25, the House of Delegates approved House Bill 1 to launch a referendum that will enable voters to have their say on whether or not they wish to legalize recreational cannabis in Maryland via a constitutional amendment. 

The referendum’s success would see HB 837 – which is being backed by Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) – be effectuated. Based on the details of HB 837, Marylanders aged 21 and older could possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis from July 2023.

The proposed law also features legal cannabis policy steps that should be taken after the referendum’s passage. It focuses on a number of important areas, such as funding for minority and female-owned businesses, as well as cannabis taxing and licensing issues, the latter of which would be dealt with by lawmakers next year.

Lawmakers have presented the Senate Finance Committee with two legislative proposals

Lawmakers in Kentucky have had two different legislative proposals shoved under their noses in recent times, both of which harbor some serious appeal.

One of those measures is Sen. Brian Feldman’s SB 833, which includes cannabis policy implementation guidelines, including the establishment of a system that properly taxes and regulates the market, in addition to a supportive program for people who’ve been hardest hit by cannabis criminalization.

SB 833 seeks to update the Maryland Constitution to permit adults aged 22 and over to legally consume and possess two ounces of cannabis. If the referendum is passed, marijuana would be legalized across the state from July 2023.

Contrastingly, Sen. Jill Carter (D-Baltimore City) sponsored SB692, which doesn’t seek to launch a referendum question on cannabis legalization. Based on the terms of his bill, cannabis in Maryland would be legal from July 2022. Should this happen, residents would be legally allowed to possess a maximum of four ounces of cannabis.

Cannabis legalization popularity outshines support for Biden in Maryland

In separate yet related news, the findings of the most recent Goucher College Poll suggest that more Maryland voters support legal cannabis than they do the presidential performance of Joe Biden. The poll’s insights indicate that, should a legalization initiative make its way to the Maryland ballot this November, the outcome could be successful.

Researchers responsible for conducting the Goucher College Poll found that 62% of voters in Maryland want to see cannabis legalized for recreational purposes, whereas 34 percent were against the idea.

Support for ending cannabis prohibition in Maryland is bipartisan, say researchers, who found that 65 percent of Democrats support legalization. Meanwhile, 54 percent of Maryland Republicans share the same opinion.

What’s more, according to the Goucher College Poll, just 48 percent of voters think that Biden is doing a good job as the U.S. president. Comparatively, 47 percent are less than impressed with the stain he is leaving on the White House.