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New Maryland governor creates Department of Service and calls for marijuana possession charges expunged

Gov. Moore released $69 million in pre-approved funds tied up the previous administration and signed two executive orders on his first day on the job.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland's new governor had a busy first day on the job. 

Gov. Wes Moore (D-Maryland) signed two executive orders and released $69 million in pre-approved funds. A chunk of that money will support the cannabis industry.

“We view the general assembly as partners not adversaries,” said Moore.

Gov. Moore is committing a whopping $46.5 million to building, supporting, and studying the growing cannabis industry making it more equitable, providing substance abuse treatment, and focusing on criminal justice. The governor wants to expunge the records of anyone arrested on charges of marijuana possession before the law passed.

“The act provides automatic expungement of all cases of prior to the legalization of cannabis on July 1, 2023, in which the possession of a cannabis was the sole charge in the case,” explained Moore. “We cannot talk about benefits of legalizing if we are not willing to wrestle with the consequences of criminalization.”

So, let’s break down where else the money is going:

$9 million for the Climate Solutions Act.

“Maryland must be a leader when it comes to building the infrastructure to support cleaner sources of energy reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” explained the governor.

$9 million for the Time to Care Act supporting paid family leave (according to Moore, 60% of Maryland workers lack access to paid leave).

“No Marylander – no working Marylander should be forced to choose between caring for a loved one or risking unemployment,” he said.

$3.5 million for The Abortion Care Access Fund.  

“This program is intended to ensure access to high quality safe abortion care in Maryland and provide grants for clinical training for abortion care providers and their clinical care teams,” said Moore. “No matter where you stand on this issue of reproductive rights, we must unite as Marylanders and as neighbors around the basic principle that all women are entitled to safe medical care.”

The governor also signed two executive orders. 

One was for creating an ethical guideline for the executive branch, the other – a brand new government agency called the Department of Service and Civic Innovation.

“We’re asking people to serve each other, and this department would be a perfect way to bring resources together to consolidate and make sure Maryland is a state that serves,” said Gov. Moore.

Moore inherited a $2.5 billion surplus, still he says there will be a "real measure of rigor and discipline" when it comes to the state's finances. The Governor's expected to present his budget to the general assembly this week. 

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