Majority of Maryland Voters Want Legal Cannabis

Majority of Maryland Voters Want Legal Cannabis

The majority of Maryland voters support legalizing recreational cannabis, according to the most recent Goucher Poll.

Conducted in an effort to understand where residents stand on several policy issues that are currently being examined by the Maryland General Assembly, the poll determined that 57 percent of voters support the full legalization of cannabis. This leaves only 37 percent in opposition.

Nearly 70 percent of residents under the age of 35 reported being in favor of legal marijuana, and 66 percent of respondents who identify as political independents also support legalization. Those over the age of 55 and those who identify as conservative or Republican were the least likely to support legalization, according to the poll.

This poll from Goucher College was conducted from February 7th through the 12th. A small sample, it surveyed 808 adults and the reported margin of error is +/- 3.4 percent.

The Road To Legalization

In the past, recreational cannabis is an issue that has not gained much traction in the Maryland General Assembly, but this year may be different as the majority of constituents are in favor. In the first week of February 2019, proposals to legalize marijuana for adults in Maryland were submitted in both the Senate and the House. The House hearing is scheduled for March 6, and the hearing in the Senate is scheduled for February 26,

Medical marijuana has been legal in the Old Line State since 2012. Establishing the framework for the retail market proved to be a challenge, however, as dispensaries were not licensed until 2016, and the program did not become fully operational until December of 2017. A bill to expand the program to allow edible forms of medical marijuana like brownies and tinctures is currently being considered this legislative session.
Possession of 10 or fewer grams of cannabis has been only a civil infraction in Maryland for almost five years. In April of 2014, Governor Martin O’Malley signed the bill into law that decriminalized personal possession. Most recently in January 2019, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby declared that marijuana possession arrests will no longer be prosecuted in Baltimore.

Marijuana Possession Cases No Longer Prosecuted In Baltimore

Marijuana Possession Cases No Longer Prosecuted In Baltimore

Baltimoreons will no longer find themselves in court for possessing cannabis. Taking the initiative to reform local cannabis policy from within, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby declared that they will not prosecute any marijuana possession cases moving forward.

These “common sense changes,” which are to be implemented immediately, also state that the quantity a person has will not matter, and neither will the person’s criminal history, as long as it is only for personal use.

Intent to distribute charges will still be prosecuted in Baltimore City, but first time offenders are more likely to enter into a felony deferment program. Nearly 5,000 marijuana possession convictions that have occurred since 2011 may be overturned as well. The office of the top prosecutor will begin looking into this soon.

“We need to get serious about prioritizing what actually makes us safe,” said Mosby in a press release. “And no one who is serious about public safety can honestly say that spending resources to jail people for marijuana use is a smart way to use our limited time and money.”

Homicide arrest rates in Baltimore have decreased over the last three years, while the murder rate has increased to an average of almost one per day in a city with a population of more than 611,000. Mosby believes police resources are wasted on marijuana possession cases, and wants to focus on finding violent repeat offenders.

“Law enforcement pays a steep cost in the form of public trust when we spend resources on things like marijuana and simultaneously fail to solve and successfully prosecute homicides,” Mosby said. “Ask any mother who has lost a son to gun violence whether she wants us to spend more time solving and prosecuting her son’s killer or to spend time on marijuana possession. It’s not a close question.”

Mosby’s office released a paper, “Reforming A Broken System: Rethinking The Role Of Marijuana Prosecutions In Baltimore City,” detailing the changes in policy.
Voters in Maryland approved medical cannabis in 2014, and a recent poll from Gonzales Research found that 58 percent believe marijuana should be legalized.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']