Legalizing recreational use of marijuana is on the agenda for 2021
MARYLAND – Maryland lawmakers will weigh legalizing recreational marijuana when they return to Annapolis next year. Although the state could use the revenue it would generate, that doesn’t mean all are on board.
“I feel it’s a money grab, we’re looking to find more, but this is not the right way to do it,” says Delegate Wayne Hartman (R-District 38C). “We are at a pivotal point now that we need to look at all issues and all areas of recreational marijuana,” states Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes (D-District 37A).
The decision of whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana has been part of discussions for at least ten years in Maryland. However, once again, the debate is heating up as lawmakers approach the next general assembly session.
CEO of Peninsula Alternative Health and Wellness says, “to me it should be about creating tax dollars that could be used towards education, towards substance abuse programs, COVID relief in areas that need it, I think there’s a lot of opportunities for a win win here.”
However, one lawmaker expressed reservations about the overall positive outcomes. “I’ve done the research on it, I think the problems that come with it far outweigh any financial benefit, any decriminalization of it, leads to further problems, I think we’re going down the wrong road,” says Del. Hartman.
But, another delegate believes there’s still not enough information to make a concrete decision. “At the end of the day, I ultimately believe that this particular subject matter , that the residents of the state of Maryland should have the ultimate say,” states Del. Sample-Hughes.
Meanwhile, Darby believes it’s important to take a strict approach to legalization, similar to the state of Massachusetts, but still make it accessible to everyone.
“I understand there are concerns out there as there should be with any substance, but through strong regulatory body like we have with the MMCC (Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission) today, I’m confident that we can pull through this successfully and safely,” says Darby.
Although the bill is expected to have a lot of support, Maryland lawmakers tell 47 abc — they still have reservations on the likelihood that it will pass.
Maryland’s General Assembly will convene in Annapolis on January 13th. Officials say, even if this legislation doesn’t pass this year, many believe it’s only a matter of time before before it does, because of how many states have already legalized it, and because Maryland has already made it legal for medicinal use.