Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has announced that he will sign legislation to decriminalize cannabis. The proposal – Senate Bill 364 – was approved by the state’s Senate today with a 34 to 8 vote, just days after the House approved the same measure.
“As a young prosecutor, I once thought that decriminalizing the possession of marijuana might undermine the public will necessary to combat drug violence and improve public safety,” Governor O’Malley said in a statement. “I now think that [it] is an acknowledgment of the low priority that our courts, our prosecutors, our police and the vast majority of citizens already attach to this transgression of public order and public health.”
Once the new law takes effect on October 1st, the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis will no longer result in a misdemeanor or jail time, but instead will be a simple $100 ticket. Second offenses will be $250, with subsequent offenses being $500.