Maryland’s Senate gave preliminary approval today to a proposal decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of cannabis. The measure is now set for one final vote in the Senate, which could come as soon as tomorrow. Its passage in the Senate will send it to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Under the proposal – Senate Bill 364 – the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis would no longer be a criminal penalty associated with jail time; instead, it would become a simple $100 ticket.
“In no state, not New York or Mississippi or Ohio or any of these states has marijuana usage gone up when they moved from criminal to civil. In no state has any other drug usage gone up, not heroin, not cocaine, crack, nothing!” says Senator Bobby Zirkin, the bill’s primary sponsor.
“We’ve pretty much decided that we think criminalizing people for very small amounts of marijuana is not good. It’s not good for our society. It’s not good for our public resources,” said Senator Allan Kittleman, a supporter of the measure.