Sales To Commence In July As Cannabis Bill Sails Through Maryland House
As expected, the Maryland House approved a measure on Friday that will create a legal framework and tax structure to enable recreational cannabis to be sold in stores as soon as July 1. The House vote was 103-32. The bill will now be sent to the Senate, which is moving forward with a separate measure.
Though Maryland voters overwhelmingly approved marijuana legalization in the November midterms, lawmakers left details about implementation to be decided this session.
“You might not have agreed with marijuana or the vote that our citizens took, but they took it, so it’s now our obligation to create an adult-use program,” said Del. C.T. Wilson, the chair of the House Economic Matters Committee. “And it’s our duty to ensure that Marylanders can receive the benefit of ownership in this industry, that citizens can have access to safe and effective cannabis without fear of adverse health effects or violence.”
Huge Support For Legalization
Under the constitutional amendment, which received 67% of the vote, adults over 21 will be able to legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis on July 1. A household will also be allowed to grow up to two pot plants.
The measure that passed Friday creates a hybrid license structure that will allow existing medical cannabis growers, processors and dispensaries to also sell to recreational users.
Gov. Wes Moore has called the cannabis bill “a well-crafted piece of legislation” and said he is “looking forward to future collaboration with the legislature.”
Lawmakers also focused on including an equity component to allow new licenses to grow, process or dispense cannabis. Priority will be given to minority owners in communities that have been disproportionately negatively affected by past marijuana laws.
“We’ve compiled the best legal cannabis practices from other states, learned lessons from medical cannabis and created an equitable implementation framework,” House Speaker Adrienne Jones wrote in a tweet.
This article was originally published on Benzinga and appears here with permission.