Recreational Marijuana to be Legal in Maryland

Angel Major, student life editor

On Monday January 29th 2018, Democratic lawmakers in the state of Maryland began a push to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The legalization of recreational marijuana is projected to make Maryland millions of dollars in tax revenue.

There are two bills concerning marijuana in the works and if they are approved, adults 21 and older will be allowed to own and grow a certain limited amount of marijuana for recreational purposes. Upon approval, the government will be able to regulate marijuana testing, and the licenses of marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, and manufacturers. The money gained from the bill, if passed, will be used towards community schools program, substance-abuse treatment and prevention, workforce development programs, and public education to deter driving while impaired.

States like Colorado and Washington are already bringing in millions in tax revenue and Maryland might be the next state to do it. Lawmakers are attempting to put the issue on the ballot for the houses of the Maryland General Assembly. If they succeed, a three-fifths majority in both houses of the General Assembly will be needed for the bill to pass. Being categorized as emergency bills, they will become law as soon as the governor signs them.

When asked if she was in favor for recreational legalization of marijuana senior Shania Miller said, “I believe marijuana being legalized in the state of Maryland is a good idea because at the end of the day people are going to smoke legal or not.”

If recreational use does become legal, there will be enforced rules and restrictions on it. Marijuana smokers would not be able to smoke in public places or drive while under the influence. There would be strict growing laws placed  upon drug including allowing no one under the age of 21 being able to grow or purchase it.

In response to the strict age limit, similar to that on alcohol, senior Erika Jackson said, “the restriction should be 18, because that’s technically when you are your own adult. You basically have all the things of being an adult besides drinking, so smoking marijuana should be fine at 18.”

Talk of legalizing recreational use in other states has increased as of recent, with a total of 30 states and the District of Columbia having marijuana use legal in some shape or form. Many people are questioning if the people locked up for marijuana related crimes will be released from prison. Senior Shania Miller thought that prisoners should be let go if involved in marijuana related crimes, saying “I think the states that [have] marijuana legalized should let the prisoners that got locked up for it free because if it is now legal than technically it’s no longer a crime.”

While some people think that they should be released, others disagree strongly. In response to whether the imprisoned for marijuana related crimes should be released, junior Asar Square-Musa said, “No, because you do not know how far the prisoners have gone down the drug line or if they might try to kill an officer out of revenge.”

Under the new proposed changes, Maryland will also look over and revamp the medical marijuana laws that are already set in place. This revamping will add seven new licenses for growers, seven for processors and 25 for dispensaries.