A prominent Maryland lawmaker introduced a bill in advance to put marijuana legalization on the state’s 2022 ballot.
The text of the legislation has been published by Del. Luke Clippinger (D) — who serves as chair of a cannabis working group that has been studying the issue — went online on Wednesday.
The bill, which seeks to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot, is set to House Bill 1, indicating that it will be given priority. It is due to be formally presented at the start of next year’s hearing on January 12 and has been referred to the Judicial Committee, which Clippinger also chairs.
House Speaker Adrian Jones (D) has been working to put the legislature in a good position to push reform quickly, announcing Forming a cannabis working group this summer He stated that lawmakers “will issue legislation early next year” to refer the issue of legalization to voters.
If passed in the legislature, the following question will be asked in the November vote: “Would you prefer to legalize adult use of cannabis in Maryland?” If approved, it will be up to lawmakers to develop rules that allow “the use, distribution, possession, regulation and taxation of cannabis within the state.”
While cannabis advocates have been pushing for cannabis reform, there are at least two components to this Measures which is already facing opposition.
First, it sets an effective date for legalizing simple tenure about eight months after the election, July 1, 2023. Other states moved more quickly, including in New York where low-level tenure was legalized immediately after the signing of a reform bill.
Second, it would not require the legislature to allow home farming – a key provision that activists have included in a Draft A referendum they hope lawmakers can serve as a model.
Karen O’Keefe, director of state policy for marijuana: “While we are grateful to legislative leaders for prioritizing cannabis legalization in 2022, we are disappointed that the previously submitted House referendum will continue the devastating war on cannabis for several months after voters legalize cannabis.” Politics project, marijuana said for a moment. “We strongly urge lawmakers to review the proposal to legalize tenure and home farming when legislating.”
“We also urge the legislature to pass implementing legislation in 2022 to ensure racial justice is at the heart of legalization, and to allow for a timely transition to a safe and orderly market,” she said.
Clippinger’s office did not immediately respond to Marijuana Moment’s request for comment on the newly issued action.
The text of the bill was made available on Wednesday, but was first requested in August — before the House Cannabis Referendum and Legislation Working Group holds any meetings. members were Discuss a wide range of issues related to business licensing, striking off previous convictions, criminal and traffic laws relating to marijuana, social justice, and cannabis tax policy.
In October, the working group held a meeting where a high-ranking federal drug official Give lawmakers some advice on legalization In anticipation of the referendum.
Meanwhile, Senate President Bill Ferguson (D) said in July that reform was “overdue” in the state – but seemed reluctant to embrace the referendum process, instead wanting Bill passed to end cannabis ban Sooner than next November.
Legislative legislation began to advance through the legislature during the 2021 session, but no vote was ultimately taken.
The Senate Finance Committee held a A March hearing on a Ferguson-sponsored legalization billMajority Leader and Chairs of Main Committees. This came after a judicial committee in the House of Representatives Listen to a separate proposal for cannabis in February.
Lawmakers have worked to iron out differences between House and Senate proposals in hopes of getting something to the office of Governor Larry Hogan (right), who has not supported legalization but has He indicated that he might be open to considering the idea.
As Maryland lawmakers considered two marijuana legalization bills last session, a poll found that State residents are ready to change policy. Two-thirds (67 percent) of Maryland residents now support legalizing cannabis, according to a survey by Goucher College. Only 28 percent oppose it.
Pressure is also mounting at the regional level to enact reform. Marijuana legalization takes effect in Virginia In July, for example.
Maryland legalized medical marijuana through an act of the legislature in 2012. Two years later, the Decriminalization Act went into effect that replaced criminal penalties for possession of less than 10 fines with a civil fine ranging from $100 to $500. But since then, a number of efforts to further marijuana reform have failed.
Last year’s bill to expand the decriminalization threshold for possession to ounces The House of Representatives passed last year But it was not taken up in the Senate.
Also last year, the governor vetoed a bill that would be Protecting people with low convictions for cannabis use from having their records published in the state database. In a statement using his veto, he said the reason was the failure of lawmakers to pass a separate, non-cannabis-related measure aimed at tackling violent crime.
In 2017, Hogan declined to answer a question about whether voters should be able to decide on the problem, but by mid-2018 he signed a bill to expand the state’s medical marijuana system and said full legalization was worth considering: “At this point he said in That time, I think it’s worth taking a look at.
As for Maryland lawmakers, a House committee was formed in 2019 Held hearings on two bills that would legalize marijuana. While these proposals did not pass, they encouraged several reluctant lawmakers to begin seriously considering change.
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