Months after talks of planning to legalize marijuana in the state of Maryland, state lawmaker Luke Clippinger pre-filed a bill last December 2021 to place marijuana legalization on the ballot this upcoming November 2022 elections.
The bill in question intends to place cannabis legalization at the hands of Maryland voters. According to Marijuana Moment, the bill introduced by Clippinger has been designated as House Bill 1, meaning it will be prioritized when the session comes back. It is slated to be introduced and heard on January 12, 2022.
Should the legislature allow the passage of the constitutional amendment, a question on the 2022 ballot would read, “Do you favor the legalization of adult-use cannabis in the State of Maryland?” Forbes reports that in order for the measure to pass, it must receive at least three-fifths of the votes both coming from the House of Delegates as well as the Senate.
Marijuana Moment states that should this be approved, lawmakers would be responsible for coming up with rules surrounding the use of cannabis, as well as its possession, distribution, regulation, and more in the state of Maryland.
Likewise, Forbes notes that the passing of the marijuana legalization referendum would mean adults aged 21 and above may be allowed to possess and use recreational cannabis come July 2023.
While there has been support for marijuana legalization in the state, activists and advocates alike want lawmakers to make changes regarding cannabis home cultivation, as well as touching on topics and provisions that center on social equity and legalization of personal possession of marijuana immediately after its passage, shares Forbes.
In an interview with Marijuana Moment, Marijuana Policy Project director of state policies Karen O’Keefe said, “While we are grateful legislative leaders are prioritizing cannabis legalization in 2022, we are disappointed the pre-filed House referendum would continue the devastating war on cannabis for months after voters legalize cannabis. We strongly urge legislators to revise the proposal to legalize possession and home cultivation upon enactment.”
“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 more timely transition to a safe, regulated market,” continued O’Keefe in her statement.
In the meantime, Marijuana Moment shares that a group established by House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones from Baltimore County is currently working on making state policies should a referendum be sent to voters. Meanwhile, the news site reveals that there are lawmakers that are looking to move forward with a cannabis legalization bill without a ballot question delay.
The workgroup under House Speaker Jones was focused on studying a number of issues pertaining to marijuana legalization, shares Forbes. These include licensing and oversight of business and its respective growth, the sales of recreational marijuana in the state, as well as the processing of cannabis in the area.
Moreover, Forbes states that the group in question has zoned in on expunging marijuana-related convictions and addressing social equity, particularly to the damages brought on by the war on drugs and the prohibition.
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