State lawmakers in Maryland’s Home of Delegates are contemplating a invoice that might 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.
Below the invoice, possession of as much as 4 ounces of marijuana can be legalized below state regulation, and convictions for possession or cultivation of marijuana in quantities made authorized by the measure can 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 battle on medicine,” 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 vital a part of laws addressing marijuana coverage reform.
“Any legalization invoice is meaningless if it doesn’t handle file 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 battle on medicine,” 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 economic system.”
Olivia Naugle, with Marijuana Coverage Mission, 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 Typical 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 youngsters, Naugle famous that younger individuals are already capable of 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 numerous public coverage impacts of the laws, AAA opposes the legalization of leisure hashish because of the inherent site 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 economic system. The invoice is supported by outstanding Senate Democrats, together with Senate President Invoice Ferguson.
“There’s little doubt that legalization of adult-use hashish is a posh subject,” Ferguson said concerning the subject 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 look ahead to its listening to,” Ferguson added.