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