There used to be a time when everyone had an issue with pot. People were getting arrested for it, jailed or prosecuted. Today, while that may still be the case in certain states, there are plenty of other states that are considering marijuana legalization and decriminalization. Maryland is obviously doing the latter and joining 17 states that have decriminalized marijuana. That means people from Maryland will no longer be facing jail time if caught with less than 10 grams of marijuana. Honestly, nobody thought this initiative would pass, especially because the General Assembly had a very strict attitude towards marijuana. It’s probably sufficient to say that Maryland had zero tolerance before so this is a huge step on the marijuana legalization ladder. Governor O’Malley didn’t change his harsh attitude that much though. He still considers it a bad idea for Maryland to be joining all those states that have become labs for testing the issue of marijuana legalization.
Supporting The Bill
On the other hand, Lt. Gov. Brown has a completely different opinion and wholeheartedly supports the bill. He even released a statement saying that this marks an important step in terms of our progressive justice system and provides all people with fairness and a brighter future. This means that decriminalization will allow for money to be used in fighting actual crime, rather than a bunch of bong smokers who couldn’t lift a finger even if they wanted too, let alone commit serious crimes. In addition, more money will be freed up for education, rehabilitation and drug prevention. We should educate youngsters on the perils of drug use and any state that doesn’t is not doing anyone any favors. According to the new law, you will not get arrested or jailed, and your fines will not go on record. Is there a better way to start ending marijuana prohibition in Maryland? Not really, this is as good as it gets and baby steps are always welcome in a controversial issue such as marijuana legalization.
More Fines, Less Jail Time
The bill’s sponsor, Senator Bobby Zirkin is obviously very appreciative that the bill has passed as he believes that we are moving away from this terrible criminalization system and only through these measures can we induce change among the population of Maryland. However, don’t go around thinking it’s cool to get fined every single day. Because after you are caught in possession of marijuana twice, you are looking at a civil penalty. In example, anyone 21 or older will have to pay a fine but after the second time, your third offense will result in court appearance and a possible drug treatment. So, in that sense, it’s not a huge difference but it will certainly lighten the load of the Maryland penitentiary system. So far, 23,000 people are clogging up the system with charges like marijuana possession and that just seems like a huge waste of money. Hopefully, decriminalization will open a new chapter on marijuana in Maryland.