Our country's views on marijuana has changed significantly in recent years. Marijuana possession that used to send people to jail and into Maryland's criminal justice system could now amount to nothing more than a civil penalty.
In 2014, Maryland passed a new marijuana law that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana, making possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $100 for a first offense, up to $250 for a second offense, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses. Third-time offenders and individuals under 21 years of age will be required to undergo a clinical assessment for substance abuse disorder and a drug education program.
Possessing less than 10 grams of pot used to be enough to get you locked up and have a criminal record. Not anymore. Note that the 10 gram threshold is an important one. Police aren't going to be carrying scales with them to weigh the drug, so in essence, they need to eyeball it. If you possess less than 10 grams, you are subject to a civil penalty that replaces the criminal penalty of $500 and/or 90 days in jail.
Medical Marijuana in Maryland
Maryland lawmakers signed a bill into law in 2013 allowing for the medical use of the herb by qualifying patients. While the law doesn't allow home cultivation, Maryland has licensed more than 100 dispensaries throughout the state.
||Maryland Criminal Law, Title 5, Subtitle 6, Part I, Section 5-601, et seq.
Under 10 grams: Fine only (Fine of up to $100 for a first offense, up to $250 for a second offense, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses.)
10 grams to 50 pounds:Misdemeanor with potential punishments of 1 year in prison and/or $1,000 in fines.
Note: Third-time offenders and individuals under 21 years of age will be required to undergo a clinical assessment for substance abuse disorder and a drug education program.
Under 50 lbs: Felony with penalty of 5 yrs. and/or fine of $15,000.
50 lbs. or more: Felony with not less than 40 yrs.
Subsequent offenses: Double penalties, mandatory 2 yrs.
||If a "drug kingpin": 20-40 yrs. and/or $1,000,000 fine.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Federal Drug Laws
Despite some state marijuana laws permitting the use and sale of marijuana, federal law still criminalizes the possession and sale of marijuana by way of the Controlled Substance Act (and in cases where state and federal law conflict, federal law always wins out). However, most federal law enforcement agencies have not intruded on states’ handling of the majority of marijuana cases. But possessing marijuana on federal land has been a pain point for some people, so bear that in mind. Even so, the federal government still has the power to penalize everything from simple pot possession to the manufacturing and cultivation as well as trafficking and distribution of marijuana.
Learn More About Maryland Marijuana Laws from a Lawyer
State marijuana laws are constantly changing and evolving every year. You should know your rights or responsibilities under Maryland’s drug laws, particularly if you have an existing drug case. So, if you've been charged with a drug crime in Maryland, or simply want to learn more about the state's marijuana laws, it's best to contact a drug crime lawyer in your area today.