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Bill To Legalize Marijuana Introduced In Maryland

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Maryland marijuanaby Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director

Hot on the heels of the introduction of a bill to tax and regulate marijuana in Maine earlier today, Delegate Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore) has filed legislation in Maryland that would end his state’s prohibition on marijuana and regulate its possession, use, and sale for adults over the age of 21.

House Bill 1453 would create a system to regulate and tax cannabis in a manner similar to how the state handles alcohol. It would instruct the Maryland comptroller to license marijuana retail stores, wholesale facilities and testing facilities and apply an excise tax of $50 per ounce on wholesale sales. The excise tax revenue would go to fund treatment programs to prevent alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse. You can read the full text of this proposal here.

If you live in Maryland, please take a moment and use NORML’s Take Action Center here to easily contact your Representative and urge him or her to support this important legislation.

MARYLAND: Click here to urge your elected officials to support this legislation

The winds of reform are blowing strongly at our backs, with Maryland entering the fray, there is currently a total of six states (Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont) with pending legislation to legalize marijuana for adult consumption. Check out the full list of pending state legislation here and find out if your state is considering marijuana law reforms in this legislative session.

Article from The NORML Blog.

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  • Matao W

    Yess. I live in Maryland

  • inbloom

    yeah man, me too, never thought they would try this early considering they stalled with a full medical marijuana law, stating the federal conflict as the reason.

  • John Holman

    Well alrighty then. First thing we have to do is discredit O’malley. He will try to stop this because he wants to be President and doesn’t want this on his clock for obvious reasons. He will say the federal gov will try to arrest state workers as he did when threatening veto on last years medical bill. This can be proven as baseless as MMJ has been around for 20 yrs and no state employee has ever been bothered. For him to stop this for his own personal gain is irrehensible and needs to be exposed. I am currently not smoking so no one can bother me. Lets do this!

  • Who came up with the $800 an lb tax idea? Is that what it takes to support the Mexican underground? And that is the wholesale tax. At retail that would be about $1500 an lb given the usual markups. Now suppose there is ultimately a Federal wholesale tax of $800 an lb. You are now at $3,000 an lb retail. And that does not even include anything for the growers. Suppose they want $800 an lb too? You now have retail pot at $4,500 an lb.

    Don’t get me wrong. Legalization is a good idea. Even this. But the taxes are enough to support a very nice black market.

  • Eddie smoke alot

    As much as I would LOVE to see prohibition end and am so glad to see people are working so hard to see that happen it all just seems to create false hope. Hawaii seemed like they were gonna be the third state but was shut down before it was given a fair chance. Let the people decide not politicians with old fashion beliefs. If 2 or 3 of this 6 states pass their legalization bills then sooner than later then I will eat my words. At this point it seems they are just pretending to listen to us to get us off their back alittle.

  • upnorth01

    it’s a start. The more states that make it legal, the more production will go up, the lower prices go. Taxes can be lowered at a later time when state budgets get healthy

  • Valient

    I used the link, and this is the response I got. Politicians refuse to face truth and be educated.

    I have supported Medical Marijuana legislation the past two years. During the 2011 Session, after a lot of debate the Medical Marijuana bill (HB 291) was made into a “taskforce” to study the issue and to come back with recommendations. When these issues are presented again in my committee, I will support efforts this year to ensure that people who are ill with chronic pain can access this kind of relief. Hopefully, we can make more progress on this issue this year. However, there are serious medical problems and other issues associates with recreational use. At this time I do not support legalizing.

    Again, thank you for sending me your thoughts about this important issue. Please feel free to contact me anytime. You can reach me at 410.841.3070 or email at Justin.Ready@house.state.md.us.

    Sincerely,

    Justin Ready
    Member, House of Delegates

    • DavidTheExpert

      Whoa, what the fuck?? He supports medical marijuana, and yet opposes legalization due to the medical risks of marijuana?? What the fuck is wrong with this guy?? Or rather, what the fuck is wrong with the intern who wrote this form-letter about marijuana reform?

      • Justin Ready

        Actually, I wrote that personally. Working on a response to the response I got from Valient. Have been very busy the last couple of days but will flesh out my thoughts to him soon. I’m sure he’ll be willing to post. Truth is, there is a lot of scientific evidence that says marijuana can damage brain cells every time you smoke it. However, I think we need to do some clinical trials to really judge the short and long-term effects of pot smoking. I’d be willing to lessen restrictions to allow that to occur.

        • DavidTheExpert

          Well sir, I did not expect you to read that comment of mine, but I am quite glad that you replied. However, I feel that I must rebut one of your points.

          You stated that there has been scientific evidence showing that marijuana damages brain cells, but in fact, that is one issue that almost every relevant study agrees upon: cannabis poses no risk to the brain or to one’s intellect. I think you may be referring to one recent study which claimed that adolescents and young teens who smoke cannabis may suffer from diminished IQs. But you should note that a follow-up study concluded that the original study was incorrect, stating that the true probable cause of the lower IQs of the test subjects was related to the socioeconimic status of the test subjects, rather than their marijuana usage (source: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/01/09/1215678110.abstract?sid=2376b516-baa1-4ad1-8ba2-98582af25378 ).

          Despite the strict restrictions about conducting research on cannabis use, there really have been quite a few studies done (abroad or otherwise). And almost all of them suggest that cannabis is virtually harmless among all users, regardless or age or frequency of use. A major problem we have now is that the federal government (particularly the DEA) puts itself in the position as a be-all-end-all source on drug-related information. They have a very small hand-full of studies (a fraction of the studies that have actually been done), hand picked to weakly suggest that cannabis is harmful. Then they go on to claim that any other studies are invalid because they conflict with their current standards. Even the ones that were funded by the federal government in the first place! I know there is very little you or I could do about this from the state level, but I do hope you will keep an open mind about the subject and attempt to learn more than the limited information you can get from the government itself.

          The one thing I most desperately wish from my political representatives is for them to fully embrace science. There are always two sides to every political issue, and everyone has an opposing opinion, but when it comes to science, there is only one truth. And more importantly, scientific conclusions can change as new information is discovered. So, Mr. Ready, if you take anything from this long winded comment, I hope it is that you should continue to educate yourself. Understand the science behind your issues, and always be willing to challenge your own conclusions if new facts are present. Truth should always trump politics.

          I too would oppose legalization if the science suggested it would be harmful. But I have never read a single trustworthy study suggesting such (and I have read up on the subject quite a lot, as you might have guessed).

          So, all that being said, and hopefully I still have your attention, I truly do appreciate your support of medical marijuana. Not many politicians are willing to acknowledge that an illegal substance could have any benefit, so I respect your willingness to take such a bold stance. More and more politicians are beginning to realize the truth and notice the scientific evidence showing what a helpful medicine this can be. So, thank you. But it really shouldn’t stop there. Many young non-violent people are being thrown into prisons, their lives ruined, simply for choosing to use a relatively harmless substance. Whether you think marijuana is good or bad, you must agree that the situation is wrong. The goal of legalization is not to promote use, but is rather to prevent the destruction of lives for a simple harmless life-choice.

          • Justin Ready

            I appreciate the dialogue. I think the point you make about the restrictions on testing is a good one. I am always suspicious of government being the only source for research…they tend to pick and choose based on which results they like. I agree with you on that. I am keeping an open mind, just really feel that legalizing would say to everyone “it’s totally okay to smoke it” and I’m not sold that it is. Fair enough?

          • DavidTheExpert

            You know, I agree. Legalization should by no means make it seem “okay” to consume cannabis. People should understand what they’re putting into their bodies, and not jump into it like they’re trying a new brand of chewing gum. But the great thing about legalization is that there would finally be real restrictions. For example, it would be much more difficult for minors to obtain it. Alcohol is legal, but store that sells alcohol to minors will lose its license, and any adult intentionally selling alcohol to minors will go to prison. Drug dealers don’t card, but legally regulated pot shops would. Right now, it is easier for teenagers to obtain weed than a beer. And which one is illegal?

            Why don’t we take the taxes from legal cannabis and put them towards education programs? Teach people that cannabis is only safe in moderation and that it should only be purchased from regulated sellers. Currently people who use cannabis often don’t understand how to do so responsibly. The worst part about prohibition is that there are no regulations on what kinds of pesticides and chemicals are used on the plant. That poses a real health hazard. Natural, government-overseen crops would be free of harmful chemicals.

            Cannabis can be used responsibly, just like alcohol can be used responsibly. Legalization would promote *responsible* use, not use in general. Another example: it’s better to teach teens about safe sex rather than telling them not to have sex at all. We all know they’re going to do it anyway. They may as well be safe about it. Why isn’t it the same when it comes to cannabis use? Smoke responsibly and safely, because we know everyone is doing it anyway.

    • Concerned Citizen

      “However, there are serious medical problems and other issues associates with recreational use.” Perhaps you could be so kind as to elucidate these alleged medical problems, etc. without resorting to the promulgation of rumors and junk science.

      • Justin Ready

        See my response to DavidtheExpert above.

  • k.collins

    I think Curt should run for omalleys job he has my support. Thank you Del. Curt Anderson

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