Maryland Gov. Wants To Avoid Long, Drawn-out Cannabis Rollout

Maryland Gov. Wants To Avoid Long, Drawn-out Cannabis Rollout
High Times

Voters in Maryland last year elected a new governor and approved an initiative legalizing recreational cannabis.  Now, the freshly sworn-in Gov. Wes Moore will lead the effort to implement the state’s marijuana law. “People of the state overwhelmingly chose to decriminalize cannabis. So we as a state now have an obligation to make sure that the will of the people is both heard, but that we do have a swift and equitable rollout,” Moore, a Democrat, told Politico in an interview that was published this week. Moore won handily in his race against Republican Dan Cox in November, 65% to 32%, to become Maryland’s first black governor.  In the same election, Maryland voters approved Question 4, which legalized recreational marijuana use for adults in the state and also laid the groundwork for a regulated retail cannabis market, by roughly the same margin.  When the calendar flipped to 2023 this month, parts of that new cannabis law took effect.  Possession of as many as one-and-a-half ounces of weed no longer constitutes a crime in Maryland; instead, it is currently only a civil violation. It will be fully legal starting in July. Additionally, Marylanders who have a marijuana-related conviction on their records will have it expunged from their records by the summer of 2024, although they have the option to petition and ask a judge to resentence in order to have it scrubbed sooner.  The state’s regulated cannabis market, however, likely won’t launch until 2024 or 2025.  In his interview with Politico this week, Moore said it is important for the rollout of the new marijuana program to not be long and drawn out. “That is something that we will be [working with] the legislature during this session and something that we are going to have to lay out when we look…

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