Maryland Voter-Approved Legalization Measure Takes Shape in New Year

Maryland Voter-Approved Legalization Measure Takes Shape in New Year
High Times

Maryland might still be years away from the launch of its new legal marijuana market, but the start of the new year has still marked the beginning of the post-prohibition era mid-Atlantic state. A large majority of Maryland voters approved a ballot initiative in November that will both legalize recreational pot use for adults in the state and also establish a regulated retail cannabis market.  Per local news station WJLA, although “recreational marijuana won’t be fully legal until July 1, as of now possession of up to 1.5 ounces is no longer a crime”; instead, according to the station, “It’s a civil violation carrying a $100 fine.” “For amounts up to 2.5 ounces the fine is $250,” the station reported. But the new law will yield immediate changes on the criminal justice front.  According to WJLA, Marylanders with a cannabis-related conviction on their criminal record on will have it automatically be expunged by July 1, 2024, but they do not have to wait that long. “You can go to the Maryland Courts website and apply for an expungement without any help from an attorney. They even have instructional videos,” the station said. WJLA continued: “There is also very good news for those currently locked up for cannabis-related crimes. As long as that is the only crime for which they’re serving a sentence, they can immediately ask for resentencing and a judge must resentence to time served and they must be released.” Sixty-seven percent of Maryland voters approved Question 4 in November, making the state the latest to end the prohibition on cannabis use.  The “Yes on 4” campaign was bankrolled by Trulieve, a major cannabis company with a significant presence in Maryland’s existing medical cannabis market.  The campaign also deployed former Baltimore Ravens player Eugene Monroe as its chairman.  “Tonight voters…

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