maryland general assembly

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Maryland: Legislature Votes To Repeal Law Against Marijuana Paraphernalia

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Maryland General Assembly has approved a bill which would repeal the state's law against marijuana paraphernalia.

The House of Delegates on Saturday voted 84-52, sending the bill, already approved by the Senate, to Governor Larry Hogan's desk, reports CBS DC.

Maryland decriminalized possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana last year, making it a civil offense rather than a criminal one.

Lawmakers didn't do the same thing at that time for smoking paraphernalia like pipes and bongs, so the paraphernalia bill was introduced this session of the Assembly.

The same measure also makes smoking marijuana in public a civil offense, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Photo: DEA Museum

Maryland: House Bill Excludes Marijuana As Parole Violation

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Parolees in Maryland who use or possess small amounts of marijuana would no longer be violation of their sentences under a bill narrowly approved by the Maryland House of Delegates last week.

The bill, which squeaked by on a 10-vote margin, comes a year after Maryland voted to decriminalize the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana. It heads to the Senate for consideration, report Ovetta Wiggins and Jenna Johnson at The Washington Post.

Proponents say it's important for the rules of probation and parole to mirror criminal law, and not to penalize people for offenses that are no longer criminal. Opponents of the bill claimed it would undermine aspects of the criminal justice system intended to keep former inmates on a "positive path," which apparently to these morons means encouraging them to drink rather than the safer alternative of using cannabis.

Possession of small amounts of cannabis isn't a violent offense, said Del. Jay Walker, one of dozens of benighted Democrats who voted against the bill, but drug possession is related to the "drug culture -- the most violent culture we have."

But Del. David Moon (D-Montgomery), who sponsored the legislation, said the bill is "an attempt to keep nonviolent offenders out of the system."

"The spirit is to include all offenses that have been moved from criminal to civil," Moon said.

Maryland: Panel Works Toward Final Medical Marijuana Rules

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Maryland state panel on Tuesday worked on the final details to create a medical marijuana system from scratch, but a few points remain unresolved as the commission moves toward next week's deadline.

The Maryland Medical Marijuana Commission on Wednesday released a second draft of regulations to create the program, reports Erin Cox at The Baltimore Sun. The 81 pages of rules were reworked after the first draft came under fire at a public hearing last month.

Among the many changes in the second draft was removal of a provision that would have effectively banned medical marijuana growers or dispensaries within Baltimore city limits.

The panel also decided to create a digital registry of medical marijuana patients, in an effort to assure only patients receive cannabis. It also tweaked the rules about how patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can access the herb.

But still missing from the revisions are details about how much patients and distributors will pay to participate in the program.

The Maryland Legislature passed a medical marijuana law earlier this year which allows for up to 15 growers and about 100 dispensaries across the state. It is up to the Medical Marijuana Commission to decide how to implement that law.

Maryland: Montgomery Council Urges Assembly, Governor to Decriminalize Marijuana Paraphernalia

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Representatives of Maryland’s most populous county say possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia should be among its lowest law enforcement priorities

The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Maryland General Assembly and Governor to decriminalize possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Montgomery is the state’s most populated county.

Specifically, the resolution urges them to “make adult paraphernalia possession a civil offense, no more serious than adult possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana.” In April, the General Assembly adopted a bill decriminalizing possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, and Gov. Martin O’Malley signed it into law.

The council resolution also expresses the opinion that “possession of small amounts of marijuana and paraphernalia by adults should be among the County’s lowest law enforcement priorities.”

"Good cops don't want to waste their time arresting adults for marijuana possession," said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and a 34-year veteran of the Maryland State Police. "They want to focus on serious threats to our community.

"Each marijuana arrest takes up time and resources that could be used to keep our neighborhoods safe,” Franklin said.

Maryland: Delegates Try To Revive Marijuana Decrim Bill

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Several rebellious members of the Maryland House of Delegates tried on Friday to revive a bill which would remove criminal penalties for small amounts of marijuana, days after the measure got hung up in a committee, according to lawmakers.

Delegates led by members of the Legislative Black Caucus tried to amend the legislation in the full House, an unusual challenge to committee rule in the tightly scripted Legislature, report Fredrick Kunkle and John Wagner at The Washington Post. The move is also a challenge to one of the most powerful men in the House, Judiciary Committee Chairman Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr (D-Prince George's County).

"There are a number of members in the House who feel very strongly that Maryland should be moving in the direction of decriminalizing marijuana," said Del. Aisha N. Braveboy (D-Prince George's County), chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus.

Overcoming a committee chairman's opposition "is very difficult," she said. "But it's not impossible, and it has happened before."

The amendment will likely be introduced during Friday's House session, but debate could be pushed until Saturday, according to several lawmakers.

Last year, the Maryland Senate passed a decriminalization bill, but that one also died in Vallario's committee without a vote. This year was looking like a rerun.

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