Maryland Governor Larry Hogan rejected a bill last Thursday, May 7, 2020, that could have prevented individuals from holding low-level marijuana convictions from being included in a statewide database. Although Governor Hogan is reportedly not against the bill itself per se, his vetoing of the house bill supposedly stemmed from another criminal justice proposal of his being set aside by the legislature.
The authority figure took to social media platform Twitter to air out his sentiments. In a series of Tweets, Governor Larry Hogan said he has taken appropriate actions “on bills passed during the 2020 legislative session. Given the fiscal and economic challenges posed by the #COVID19 pandemic, it would be irresponsible to allow legislation that requires increasing spending to become law.”
Hogan also said that he remains committed to working with the legislation as they continue to face these socio-economic hurdles.
The bill in question is HB 83, otherwise known as the Charge pf Possession of Marijuana –Removal from Case Search, which NORML says would have shielded approximately 200,000 low-level marijuana convictions from public view and consumption. House Bill 83 initially sought to prevent the “Maryland Judiciary case Search from in any way referring to the existence of a certain case in which possession of marijuana is the only charge in the case and the charge was disposed.”
According to NORML, individuals currently convicted of marijuana possession offenses may pose petitions and appeals to the respective courts to have their records be expunged, as per the Maryland state law.
House Bill 83 would have likewise provided Maryland residents who bore cannabis convictions the chance to get automatically get their records expunged.
In attempts to clear his actions regarding the vetoing of the bill, Governor Larry Hogan issued a statement letter saying he chose to veto HB 83, along with other criminal justice reform measures, as the legislature failed to pass the Violent Firearms Offenders Act of 2020.
Although he believes in what the bill could possibly hold for those holding low-level marijuana convictions, Gov. Hogan said his main priority was to make violent criminals liable for their actions and ultimately help stop the acts of violence, such as shootings and murders, in Baltimore.
Gov. Hogan said that because his legislation failed to get the necessary attention and priority, the cannabis proposal, alongside other criminal justice reform bills, would have to take a back seat for the moment. Apart from the cannabis proposal, the governor has vetoed six other bills.
“I expressed strong willingness to consider other proposals, including some of those passed by the legislature, if they were included as part of a comprehensive crime package which included my proposals,” said Hogan.
After the latest hearing, the lawmakers of the state of Maryland are forced to convene at a later time after the pandemic. Their initial 2020 legislative session was said to have been dismissed by three weeks with the coming of the virus pandemic.
Marijuana Moment said that had the legislature continued with their meetings, another cannabis bill would have been added to the roster.
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