Maryland House Approves Marijuana Expungement Bill, Already Passed Senate

A marijuana expungement bill has been passed by Maryland’s full House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 949 was given approval by the House today with a 94 to 43 vote; the measure has already passed the Senate with a unanimous 47 to 0 vote. Given it was amended in the House, it will need to go back to the Senate to receive one final vote before being sent to Governor Larry Hogan for final consideration.

According to official language, Senate Bill 949 would allow for the expungement (removal) of a marijuana charge if “the person was convicted of possession of marijuana under §5–601 of the Criminal Law Article”. The measure initially required “that filing fees for petitions for expungement collected by the District Court be remitted to the Administrative Office of the Court be used only for a specified purpose”, but that was amended out in the House.

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Maryland Senate Committee Votes in Favor of Marijuana Expungement Bill

Maryland’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has given a favorable vote to Senate Bill 949.

Marijuana ExpungementThe proposal would allow a person convicted of possession of marijuana before October 1, 2014 to file for an expungement (removal) of the charge. According to its official summary; “This bill expands eligibility for expungements to include convictions for possession of marijuana under § 5-601 of the Criminal Law Article before October 1, 2014.”

October 1st, 2014 marked the first day of a new statewide law in Maryland that decriminalized the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis, making it a civil fine rather than an arrestable misdemeanor.

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Maryland Senate to Hold Hearing Thursday on Marijuana Legalization Bill

Maryland’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday on a bill that would legalize and regulate marijuana in a way similar to alcohol.

Senate Bill 928, filed by Senator Richard Madaleno Jr., would legalize the possession and personal cultivation of cannabis, while establishing a licensed and regulated system of cannabis retail outlets and cultivation centers. Prior charges for cannabis that were made legal by the bill would be expunged for those who were 21 and older at the time of conviction.

“I’m a retired narcotics officer and Maryland native, and I support regulating marijuana for adult use because it will make our state safer,” says Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, who plans to testify at the hearing Thursday. “Decriminalizing marijuana took the crime out of possessing it, but it did not address the criminal element associated with production and sales. Maryland’s prohibition system is keeping dangerous illegal growers and dealers in business. Adopting a tightly regulated system of licensed cultivators and sellers will weaken criminals who endanger our children, communities, and police officers.”

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Maryland Marijuana Legalization Bill Announced

Marijuana would be legalized, regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol under legislation Maryland lawmakers plan to introduce this week.

“Now is the time to join other states and move toward a sensible system of regulation and taxation,” said Senator Richard Madaleno (D) at a Monday press conference. Madaleno announced two forthcoming Senate bills; one would legalize and regulate cannabis, and one would tax it.

Under the proposed laws, which will be officially filed later this week, those 21 and older would be allowed to possess and grow cannabis for personal use. The measures would also establish a system of licensed cannabis retail outlets, supplied by licensed cultivation centers. Cannabis would be taxed at $30 an ounce, plus a 9% sales tax.

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