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Maryland Legislature Overrides Governor Veto, Decriminalizes Cannabis Paraphernalia

Cannabis ParaphernaliaThe Maryland House and Senate voted 86-55 and 29-17 today to override Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of Senate Bill 517, to decriminalize cannabis paraphernalia.

The proposal, introduced by Senator Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), removes criminal penalties for the possession of cannabis paraphernalia, such as pipes, bongs and grinders. Governor Hogan vetoed this common sense measure in May, after it was approved 32-13 in the Senate and 83-53 in the House of Delegates.

The approval of this new law comes after the state’s adoption of a 2014 policy that removes criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of cannabis, while leaving in place penalties for cannabis paraphernalia.

“An overwhelming majority of Maryland voters do not want citizens to be subjected to jail time and a lifelong criminal record simply for using marijuana”, the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland said in a press release following the legislature’s vote. “The continued criminalization of paraphernalia in practice meant that people with small amounts of cannabis were still being arrested throughout the state, sometimes for nothing but the plastic bag containing the cannabis. This unfortunate shortcoming will now be fixed, thanks to the courage and support of our lawmakers.”

A new poll released today shows that the majority of Maryland voters support broader cannabis policy reform. A statewide survey of registered voters conducted by Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies found 53% to be in favor of legalizing cannabis, with just 43% were opposed.

TheJointBlog

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About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

3 comments

  1. Anonymous

    Agreed people of Maryland you know now who to vote for when the next governor election comes up and the 55 and 17 NAY voters in your Congress. Get rid of the old dinosaeurs and bring in the new generation who believe in science and medical research studies.

  2. Earle

    Here in Georgia it’s Drug Related Objects “DRO” is a misdemeanor, or if you will, bargaining chip when the prosecutor has a weak case for the drug charges brought by the grand jury. Also, wouldn’t u.know it, against low income folks,which they glade to acept to beat the felony charge; pay fines,do drug court and community service….what a rip for tax payers, my opinion here…./ ga -11th.. .

  3. Anonymous

    sounds like its time to elect a new governor next election.

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