With the voters of Maryland voting to legalize recreational cannabis in the November 2022 General Election, people should not have to worry about being incarcerated for cannabis related offenses. But existing criminal penalties for possession above the 2.5oz civil possession amount and for possession with intent to distribute still present Marylanders with the possibility of being exposed to the criminal justice system as a result of cannabis.
What does the legislation do?
Given the history of law enforcement disproportionately charging Black people with these offenses, leaving these criminal penalties intact will only extend Black people’s exposure to incarceration. This bill removes criminal penalties for possession of cannabis, above the civil limit, and removes criminal penalties for possession with intent to distribute.