Maryland’s full Senate has just voted in favor of a measure to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis. Under the proposal, Senate Bill 297, possessing up to 10 grams of cannabis would no longer be an arrestable offense that carries with it a misdemeanor charge. Instead, it would become a simple $100 ticket. The vote was 30-16.
The bill now moves to the House, where its passage would put it in the hands of the state’s governor.
According to an FBI report, over 24,000 people were arrested for cannabis possession in Maryland in 2010. Although it’s unknown how many of these were for possession of 10 grams or less, the number is likely in the thousands.
House lawmakers are also discussing House Bill 1453, to legalize cannabis for adults, which has a public hearing today, March 19th.
If passed, the measure would make it legal for those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, grow up to 3 plants, and purchase cannabis through state-licensed retail outlets.