Marylanders vote to legalize recreational marijuana, what to expect next

Beginning July 1, 2023, smoking, possessing and growing marijuana will be legal in Maryland for adults 21 and over.

Once in effect, those 21 and over can legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana. More than 1.5 ounces but less than 2.5 ounces will result in a civil fine of up to $250.

Anyone caught with more than 2.5 ounces could face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Adults will also be able to grow up to two plants at home out of public view but will only be able to sell with the proper license.

When looking at cases already prosecuted, a companion bill already passed by state lawmakers — and contingent upon voters’ approval of the referendum — makes it possible for those convicted to petition for resentencing. Cases involving marijuana charges only will be automatically expunged.

Dr. Chanda Macias, CEO of the National Holistic Healing Center in D.C., says it’s an exciting move.

“Even though it’s ‘recreational,’ people use cannabis for any reason, and that reason is their own privacy,” she said when referring to the health benefits of cannabis.

So far, no word from lawmakers on guidelines for retail sales but the issue is likely to be addressed during the next General Assembly session in January.

Macias said she would like to see opportunities for minorities to participate in what could become a burgeoning legal marketplace.

“It’s time to give people back the quality of life and opportunities that they deserve,” she said.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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