Maryland Senate Votes to Reduce Pot Penalties


The Maryland Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would reduce the penalties for marijuana possession. In a 30-16 vote, the Senate adopted SB 297, which would reduce the penalties for use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana.

The bill would make such violations a civil offense punishable by only a $100 fine. Currently, being caught with a small amount of marijuana in Maryland is a misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Now that the measure has passed the Senate it has been referred to the House. According to his press office, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) hasn’t officially taken a position yet on whether or not he would sign or veto the bill if it got to his desk. O’Malley, though, has recently shown a greater openness to marijuana reform. Earlier this month his administration dropped its opposition to medical marijuana legislation.

If Maryland adopts the law, it will join the more than a dozen other states that have decriminalized or legalized small amounts of marijuana.

Photo by Luigi Anzivino released under Creative Commons License

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