Press Release from: Adrienne A. Jones, Speaker Maryland House of Delegates
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Judiciary Chairman Luke Clippinger introduced House Bill 837 that creates an equitable path to adult recreational cannabis should Marylanders vote to legalize cannabis in the 2022 General Election.
The legislation establishes an implementation plan based on the findings of the House Cannabis Referendum Workgroup that was established by Speaker Jones and chaired by Chairman Clippinger, the bill’s sponsor.
“I want to thank Chairman Clippinger and every member of the workgroup for their thoughtful approach to the legalization of recreational adult use cannabis,” said Speaker Jones. “While I feel strongly that the voters should decide this issue, it is the General Assembly that is charged with making sure we have a legally defensible, equity-driven plan in place should they choose legalization.”
The legislation addresses the most pressing criminal justice and public health issues facing legalization while simultaneously building the necessary foundation for social equity in the recreational cannabis industry.
“Marylanders deserve to have their voices heard at the ballot box on the question of legalization, but we cannot move forward without an implementation plan that addresses our immediate priorities, said Chairman Clippinger. “With this legislation, we will be prepared with comprehensive policy that creates the best, most equitable path to legal recreational cannabis should voters say yes.”
Guided by the feedback of experts and input from members of the General Assembly, this legislation will:
- Allow Marylanders to possess up to 1.5 ounces of recreational cannabis without penalty. Possession over 1.5 ounces of cannabis and up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis would be reduced to a civil offense rather than a misdemeanor.
- Automatically expunges the conviction of anyone previously found guilty of simple possession of marijuana if it was the only charge in the case, and anyone currently held in a state prison or local jail for a cannabis conviction to be resentenced to end their term of incarceration.
- Conduct a study to collect data on patterns of use, incidents of impaired driving, and the impact cannabis use has on public health.
- Establish the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council to study and make annual recommendations regarding the youth-impacts, addiction and misuse, infant development, advertising, labeling, and quality control of legalized cannabis.
- Conduct a disparity study that will inform the creation of a more equitable regulatory system and identify barriers to entering the industry.
- Creates a small, minority–owned, and women–owned Cannabis Business Assistance Fund that will assist those disproportionately impacted by marijuana laws and support business incubators, educational programs at HBCUs and more.
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