ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s House speaker announced her support Friday for a referendum to legalize marijuana on next year’s ballot.

House Speaker Adrienne Jones, a Baltimore County Democrat, also announced a panel to study how to implement a recreational marijuana program in Maryland, if voters approve.

“While I have personal concerns about encouraging marijuana use, particularly among children and young adults, the disparate criminal justice impact leads me to believe that the voters should have a say in the future of legalization,” Jones said in a statement. “The House will pass legislation early next year to put this question before the voters but we need to start looking at changes needed to State law now.”

Speaker Jones also announced a group of lawmakers that will craft the implementation of a legalized cannabis program in Maryland, if the voters approve the ballot question in November of 2022.

Eighteen states, including neighboring Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use and 37 allow for some sort of medical marijuana, including Maryland.

Del. Luke Clippinger, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, will lead the panel. He said it will establish the legal frameworks needed to fully implement legalized marijuana and learn from mistakes other states have made.

“The Speaker has been clear that we will do this with an eye toward equity and consideration to Black and brown neighborhoods and businesses historically impacted by cannabis use,” the Baltimore Democrat said.

The panel will determine regulatory, licensing and oversight structure of the production, sale and possession of legalized cannabis. That includes the licensing application process, number of licenses and equity in ownership of marijuana facilities.

It also will address expungement of previous convictions for cannabis and address expungement of previous convictions for cannabis and existing criminal laws.

The group will craft a taxation structure and revenue distribution from cannabis proceeds and expand addiction treatment programs.

The panel will begin meeting this fall.

(12) comments

gjthuro

No surprise considering the source

MD1756

If marijuana is legalized (and I'm not for its legalization). It needs to be self sustaining so that the cost of anyone who adversely impacts their own life from drug use does not impose those costs on the general public. In other words there had better be enough tax on marijuana to pay for any adverse impacts, drug counseling, etc. Additionally there had better be stiff penalties for anyone who causes harm to others while under it's influence (and to Dick's point, I'd use that it is found in their system or some similarly low threshold) or who commits crimes to get money to support their habit. In other words, be stupid if you want but your stupidity better not adversely impact me or others.

MrSniper

The two of you need to chill out & smoke a bowl.

DickD

The problem with legalizing marijana is the difficulty in determining when someone is under the influence

Difficult because the drug remains in the blood stream. Some employers require a test, especially those who drive and operate machinery. Also, how will police determine whether you are under the influence

Awteam2021

Maybe I have a special expertise seeing I went away to college in the 70’s. From my experience there are physical signs of marijuana use include red eyes, poor muscle coordination, delayed reaction times, difficultly having a normal conversation and increased appetite.

MrSniper

“Legalize it

Don't criticize it

Legalize it, yeah yeah

And I will advertise it…

It’s the best thing you can do”

-Peter Tosh

DickD

Some of us don't need drugs to be happy.

MrSniper

Congratulations. Now if you’ll mind your own business & not interfere with adults seeking their own happiness, the world will be a better place.

public-redux

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

MD1756

Mr. Sniper, would you same the same for those who choose to drink and drive and kill someone or cause property damage. Would you say the same for those who are irresponsible and develop bad habits and then need public assistance to dig themselves out of the mess they created. Waste your money if you want, but don't expect others to bail you out if you choose to burn up your resources on drugs and then don't have money for any periods of unemployment, illness, old age, etc. Would you be willing to sign a contract with the government that if you do drugs, the government is not obligated to spend money on you to fix any problems caused by your drug use and in fact can penalize you to cover any costs to innocent people caused by your drug use? By the way, do you like supporting the drug lords in Central America?

Awteam2021

Wouldn’t legalizing marijuana here, make it legal to grow it here, therefore wiping out the drug-lords demand from Central America?

MD1756

Aweteam, do you really think that the drug lords in Central America will just roll over and play dead, or do you think they'll infiltrate the country even more and continue to sell on the black market under pricing legalized marijuana and avoiding any taxes? Additionally, I would think that it would make them push the harder drugs more. If I were them, I'd buy customer lists of those purchasing legalized marijuana and then market other drugs towards them by one means or another. It may make the drug lords change their strategy, but it may actually be worse than it is now.

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