While state lawmakers have been recently reevaluating some of Maryland’s marijuana policies, with the state Senate voting to increase the amount a person can carry without facing legal charges, the recreational use of marijuana is still illegal. Maryland may be working towards legalization, but there’s still a ways to go and for now, it’s important to keep the marijuana laws in mind.
Under current law, the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana has been decriminalized since 2014. Proposed legislation in the Senate would decriminalize possession of an ounce, about 28 grams. But this has not passed yet. Decriminalizing it makes it a civil offense, meaning that it is treated more like a traffic ticket with a $100 fine.
Possession over 10 grams but less than 50 lbs is currently a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail or a $1,000 fine. Possession of 50 lbs or more is considered a felony with a possible penalty of up to 5 years or a $100,000 fine.
INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE
Possession with intent to distribute less than 50 lbs is a felony with a punishment of up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000. More than 50 lbs and the punishment is up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. Possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute near a school is a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 20 years and fine up to $20,000. If an offender has previously been convicted of possession with intent to distribute, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years.
Cultivation in Maryland is treated as possession or possession with intent to distribute depending on the amount being produced.
Under Maryland law, paraphernalia includes all equipment and materials used in the use, manufacture, or distribution of marijuana. Possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia is a civil violation and is punished with a fine. Selling drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor and includes a $500 fine for a first-time offense, imprisonment for up to 2 years or a $2,000 fine for a second offense.
MARIJUANA AND DRIVING
Driving while impaired by marijuana is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail or a $1,000 fine. Marijuana DUI cases can be treated less severely because it’s often difficult to perceive an impairment.
A new bill that passed the Senate would make it a crime to smoke marijuana in a car, either as a driver or a passenger. This would put marijuana on par with alcohol when it comes to driving under the influence.
Medical marijuana is legal in Maryland for qualifying health conditions. Users must possess a medical marijuana card, purchase from a licensed dispensary, and may possess a 30-day supply.
If you’ve been arrested on a marijuana charge, contact the experienced attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC, to help you get the best outcome in your case. Contact us online or call us (301) 321-7277 to set up a free consultation.