Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill decriminalizing the possession of cannabis-related paraphernalia has been overridden by the Maryland General Assembly.
The Democrat-controlled Senate and House overrode the veto of Gov. Hogan, a Republican, following a spirited debate carried out within and without the state government.
The override was meant to correct a legislative oversight from 2014, in which legislators decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis but failed to do so for cannabis paraphernalia; as a result, a person could conceivably be fined for the possession of cannabis but be slapped with a criminal misdemeanor charge for such products as rolling paper.
Delegate Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery) likened the situation to Maryland’s famous blue crabs and Old Bay seasoning.
“Imagine that they were both illegal, and suddenly we allowed people to eat Maryland blue crabs, but we still kept the Old Bay illegal. It would be inconceivable,”
The legislative push was fought by many members of the legislature, some of whom complained about the prospect of smoking cannabis on the street being less punishable by law than drinking alcohol.
“If this veto override is not sustained, then you’re going to have a situation where Bubba can go to jail, and Jeff Spicoli can take the piece of paper he was given by the police officer, make a doobie out of it and smoke it,” said Delegate Herb McMillan (R-Anne Arundel), referring to the often-high character in the film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”
The legislation is to take effect 30 days following the votes to override the governor’s veto.