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.

Maryland Ready to Launch Medical Marijuana Program

Maryland Ready to Launch Medical Marijuana Program

Over two years after legalizing medical marijuana statewide, Maryland is beginning to take the next steps forward to push the program closer to finally regulating the sale of medical cannabis.

Since the initial legalization in 2013, the state is almost ready to begin issuing business licenses for cultivation centers and dispensaries. The set state regulations allow for 94 dispensaries, including two per state senate district. Products to be sold at these dispensaries will be grown throughout 15 facilities. Aside from growing at these 15 locations, they cannabis will be turned into medical products, such as pills and oil.

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission will begin accepting applications this month, meaning that marijuana used for medical reasons will be available for purchase by the end of 2016.

The legalization has met backlash from elected officials, including Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh, who is proposing a ban on the production of cannabis and dispensaries within his county. Schuh said that the loose regulations on who can grow and purchase cannabis are creating what is basically a recreational cannabis system. The reselling of cannabis on the black market and potential dispensary robberies have led to Schuh’s stance against the program.

Throughout other areas of the state, Republican leaders are accepting the cannabis businesses in hopes of creating more job opportunities in their counties.

State laws approved over the last two years allow for private manufacturing of medical marijuana and retail shops, as long as the local zoning and planning laws are followed by the facilities.

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