Maryland Legalizes Recreational Marijuana, Allowing Adults to Purchase and Cultivate Cannabis
Maryland residents can now legally purchase, possess, and cultivate cannabis for recreational use after a new law came into effect on July 1st. The state joins more than 20 others in legalizing recreational marijuana for adults. The move follows a referendum in November’s election, where residents voted in favor of recreational cannabis use. Democrat Governor Wes Moore signed the Cannabis Reform Act into law in May. This article will explore the details of Maryland’s new marijuana laws and its implications for residents.
What the New Law Allows
Under the new law, adults aged 21 and older are permitted to grow up to two marijuana plants for personal use. Additionally, they can possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis. The cannabis products will be taxed at a rate of 9%. Previously, growing cannabis plants could lead to legal consequences, but the new law has lifted that restriction.
Despite the legalization of recreational marijuana, its usage is still limited to private residences. Smoking cannabis in public places is not permitted under Maryland’s new marijuana legalization law. Violating this restriction may result in civil fines. Distribution or possession of more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis may lead to criminal charges.
Expungement for Previous Convictions
As part of the new law, convictions for marijuana-related crimes that are now legal will be automatically expunged. Furthermore, individuals currently serving time for these offenses will be eligible for resentencing. Those convicted of possession with the intent to distribute can petition the courts for expungement three years after completing their sentences.
Medical Cannabis and Dual Licensees
Maryland will also permit companies to serve medical cannabis to customers. Nearly 100 dispensaries have been approved by state regulators to convert to dual licensees, allowing them to serve both patients and adult consumers. This move aims to ensure the availability of safe and tested cannabis products to adults in Maryland.
Business Opportunities and Economic Impact
Ben Kovler, CEO and Founder of Green Thumb and RISE Dispensary, believes that the legalization of recreational marijuana will bring significant business opportunities to Maryland. With a population of about 6 million people, Maryland’s cannabis market is expected to flourish. The state has already approved 42 cultivators and manufacturers, and cannabis industry experts are optimistic about the potential growth and economic impact.
Maryland’s Position in the National Cannabis Market
The legalization of recreational marijuana in Maryland further expands the growing trend across the country. More than 20 states have already legalized recreational cannabis for adults, signaling a shifting perspective on the substance. Maryland’s new law aims to create a more competitive and equitable economy while also addressing the harm caused by the criminalization of cannabis.
Federal Legal Status and Restrictions
Although cannabis is now legal in Maryland for recreational use, it is important to note that it remains illegal at the federal level. Consequently, public buildings and federal properties still prohibit the possession and use of cannabis. It is crucial for residents to be aware of these restrictions and to consume cannabis responsibly and within the boundaries set by the law.
The legalization of recreational marijuana in Maryland represents a significant milestone for the state. Adults aged 21 and older can now freely purchase, use, possess, and cultivate limited quantities of cannabis. However, it is essential for residents to understand the restrictions and regulations associated with the new law to ensure they consume cannabis responsibly. Maryland’s step toward legalization reflects a larger shift in the national perspective on marijuana and highlights the potential economic benefits that the industry can bring to the state.