Is Weed Legal in Maryland?
No, weed is not legal in Maryland. The state legalized medical marijuana in 2013 but recreational marijuana remains illegal. In 2014 Maryland residents approved a referendum to allow them to grow and own small amounts of weed for recreational use, but legislation for the same has dragged on for years. Luckily, efforts to allow public participation to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana are underway.
Medical Marijuana in Maryland
After legalizing medical marijuana in 2013, Maryland passed a law that compelled institutions to learn how to prescribe medical marijuana. The regulation required dispensaries and farmers to provide medical cannabis to registered patients with written referrals from a doctor.
According to the law, the patient must have been diagnosed with qualifying diseases like glaucoma, cachexia, PTSD, chronic pain, anorexia to get medicinal marijuana legally. This meant that patients received a 30-day supply of medical marijuana exclusive of edibles.
Regulations About Marijuana
Since the state hasn’t legalized recreational marijuana yet, residents in possession of amounts as small as 10 grams pay fines. Previously, residents in violation of this law could be jailed, arrested, or get a criminal record but, the decriminalization of marijuana in Maryland eased the penalties. This meant that cases involving small amounts of marijuana attracted penalties that were civil in nature:
A first offense attracts a fine of up to $100 A second offense attracted a fine of up to $250 Third offenses attracted fines of up to $500 In addition, offenders under 21 years must appear in court and undergo drug treatment. Similarly, third offenders 21 years and above must go to court and undergo a substance abuse treatment program.
Penalty for Selling Marijuana
It’s illegal to possess any amount of marijuana for sale. Residents in violation of the law get a maximum penalty of five years and a fine of $15,000 if the quantity is less than 50 pounds. Penalties are similar if the weight is more than 50 pounds, except the five-year jail sentence is applied.
Penalty for Smuggling Marijuana
Maryland law also applies a hefty penalty for smugglers. A drug kingpin law applies, which involves 20-40 years in jail and penalties of up to $1million. What’s more, if found transporting five or more kilos of marijuana, it’s deemed as smuggling. A jail term of 10 years applies and penalties of up to $10,000 if the amount is 5-45 kgs.
According to Maryland regulations, persons arrested for trafficking marijuana face a jail term of 25 years and up to $50,000 in fines if the amount is more than 45 kgs. If the offender has a handgun too, a term of 5-20 years is imposed.