State lawmakers in Maryland’s Home of Delegates are contemplating a invoice that may legalize marijuana and expunge convictions for some previous hashish offenses. The measure, Home Invoice 32 (HB 32), went earlier than the Home Judiciary Committee at a legislative listening to on Tuesday.
Beneath the invoice, possession of as much as 4 ounces of marijuana could be legalized below state legislation, and convictions for possession or cultivation of marijuana in quantities made authorized by the measure could be expunged. The judiciary committee additionally mentioned how a regulated hashish market would have an effect on the state.
Earlier than Tuesday’s committee listening to, Del. Jazz Lewis, a Democrat from St. George’s County, mentioned that the invoice would assist handle the harms brought on by failed marijuana coverage.
“I’m about to testify on HB 32 to finish the prohibition on hashish and create pathways into the business for these most harmed by the warfare on medication,” Lewis said on Twitter. “This invoice is fairness in motion.”
In the course of the Home committee listening to, Lewis mentioned that clearing previous hashish convictions is a obligatory a part of laws addressing marijuana coverage reform.
“Any legalization invoice is meaningless if it doesn’t handle report expungement,” said Lewis.
Lewis’ invoice additionally has the assist of a number of teams advocating for hashish coverage reform.
“We should finish the repeatedly raging warfare on medication,” mentioned Rajani Gudlavalletti of the Baltimore Hurt Discount Coalition, whereas Ben Jealous of Progressive Maryland mentioned that HB 32 “rights previous wrongs and creates a extra inclusive financial system.”
Olivia Naugle, with Marijuana Coverage Venture, mentioned that hashish reforms ought to be handed “to make sure enterprise possession and participation within the authorized business by communities who’ve disproportionately impacted by prohibition.”
Invoice Faces Normal Opposition
HB 32 is going through opposition from these intent on continuing cannabis prohibition, who usually depend on unproven notions to make their case. Responding to criticism that legalization would make marijuana simply accessible to kids, Naugle famous that younger persons are already in a position to procure hashish below present coverage.
“Drug sellers aren’t checking IDs, so this coverage right here would regulate hashish,” Naugle mentioned.
The invoice can be opposed by AAA Mid-Atlantic on the unproven assumption that hashish legalization decreases road safety.
“Whereas we acknowledge the complexities of HB 32 and the various public coverage impacts of the laws, AAA opposes the legalization of leisure hashish because of the inherent visitors security dangers,” mentioned Ragina Ali, AAA Mid-Atlantic public and authorities affairs supervisor.
State Senate Additionally Contemplating Legalization Invoice
The Maryland state Senate additionally has a hashish legalization invoice pending. Senate Invoice 708 (SB 708) would additionally legalize small quantities of marijuana for adults and set up a regulated hashish financial system. The invoice is supported by distinguished Senate Democrats, together with Senate President Invoice Ferguson.
“There’s little question that legalization of adult-use hashish is a fancy difficulty,” Ferguson said in regards to the difficulty earlier this month. “We have to make sure that financial advantages are equitably distributed and felony justice reform is integrated.”
“Maryland is able to transfer ahead with this and I stay up for its listening to,” Ferguson added.