Maryland lawmakers met on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, to discuss how they could potentially legalize recreational marijuana in the state. The group met for the first time on the said date to discuss cannabis-related plans for the year ahead at the Maryland House Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Workgroup conference.
The panel that met on Wednesday consisted of 10 members, all of which were appointed by House Speaker Adrienne Jones, states Marijuana Moment.
Representative Luke Clippinger chairs the House Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Workgroup. Meanwhile, the members of this organization include Majority Leader Eric Luedtke, Minority Leader Jason Buckel, Legislative Black Caucus Chair Darryl Barnes, alongside other lawmakers in the state.
The speaker said that she supports placing a legalization referendum on the November 2022 ballot so that voters could help in legalizing cannabis in the state during the elections, reports WTOP News.
Apart from discussing the possibility of legalizing recreational cannabis in the state, the members also reportedly discussed the history of reform in the United States, said Marijuana Moment. This approach is taken in order to provide them with more perspectives with regard to the legalization referendum.
In line with this, chairman of the workgroup Representative Luke Clippinger said that despite the ballot being a year away, “This work group will establish the legal framework necessary to fully implement the legalization of marijuana and learn from the mistakes that other states have made before us.”
Among the concerns that the group will zone in on include providing equity to the business licensing landscape as well as the ownership of marijuana facilities, reports WTOP News.
In addition to these efforts, the organization also intends to double down on expunging previous cannabis-related convictions. Marijuana Moment said that members will also be divided into subcommittees to focus on varying aspects involved with the legalization. These include public health, criminal justice, taxation, and business-related implications.
Present at the talk last Wednesday was Brookings Institution researcher Dr. John Hudak. Hudak shared insights on the rapidly growing cannabis legalization movement across the country, and by extension, the corresponding policies and considerations that have to be made to support this change.
In his talk, The Center Square, Dr. Hudak that there has been much emphasis on state tax revenues when it comes to talking about legalizing recreational marijuana.
“It is true that significant amounts of tax revenue come into the coffers of states that have legalized cannabis, but it’s not the level of tax revenue that will reverse budget deficits, that will build schools across the state of Maryland, that will fill in all the potholes in the state and magically cure all the state’s budget woes,” said Dr. Hudak.
“But it is a significant portion of revenue that is an important conversation but should not be a driving part of it,” continued Hudak in a statement.
With the discussion well underway, it appears that there is hope for recreational marijuana to be legalized soon in the state of Maryland. As of writing, recreational cannabis is now deemed legal across 17 states as well as D.C.
The group will meet again the following month on October 9, 2021. The discussion will center on health issues that are related to legalized cannabis.