In an 8 to 3 vote, Maryland’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has approved a proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis, removing the possibility of a criminal sentence, or jail time.
Under the proposal – Senate Bill 364 – the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis would become a simple $100 ticket, rather than an arrestable misdemeanor. The proposal is designed to free up police time and resources, according to Senator Robert Zirkin, the bill’s primary sponsor.
“This is a major step on the road toward dismantling the harms that the failed war on drugs has wrought on poor communities and communities of color,” said Reverend Dr. S. Todd Yeary of the Maryland NAACP, following the vote.
The measure now goes to the full Senate for consideration.