Maryland considers legalizing Marijuana

ANNAPOLIS (WUSA9) - Lawmakers are considering a measure to legalize marijuana in the Free State. The Marijuana Control and Revenue Act of 2015 will be discussed at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. The measure is sponsored by Baltimore Del. Curt Anderson (D) who is hoping the third time is a charm. Delegate Anderson tried twice before and both measures failed.

This year's proposal, like the others, would allow adults (21 years or older) to legally possess one ounce of marijuana even grow up to 6 plants at home. The bill would tax and regulate marijuana just like alcohol. It would require the State Comptroller to establish rules and regulations for the operation of cultivation facilities, product manufacturers and retailers. The proposed legislation would also create an oversight commission to monitor marijuana businesses.

Proponents say the measure could be a long shot but they're hoping lawmakers will be swayed by a recent poll showing 53 percent of Marylanders support legalizing marijuana. But one Marylander is opposed to the legalization: Republican Governor Larry Hogan. Governor Hogan is also against medical marijuana which was signed into law by former Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley.

Maryland also decriminalized marijuana. That means anyone caught with 10 grams or less of marijuana will face a fine, not jail time.

Maryland's proposed measure is much like the initiative passed overwhelmingly by DC voters. However, the DC council chose to delay implementation of the law for fear it would be in contempt of Congress. The move to block DC's pot law was spearheaded by Republican Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland.

Tuesday's hearing at the Annapolis State House begins at 1 p.m.


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