Maryland will soon be the latest state to reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis, joining nation’s capital in a move towards decriminalization. Yesterday, the state’s senate voted 34 to 8 for legislation that would reduce the penalty for carrying up to 10 grams of weed to a civil fine, and Governor Mark O’Malley has indicated that he will sign the bill into law.
“As a young prosecutor, I once thought that decriminalizing the possession of marijuana might undermine the public will necessary to combat drug violence and improve public safety,” O’Malley said in a statement. “I now think that [it] is an acknowledgment of the low priority that our courts, our prosecutors, our police and the vast majority of citizens already attach to this transgression of public order and public health.”
Upon getting caught with pot for the first time in Maryland, you’ll have to pay $100, and after that, the penalty escalates: second offenses are punishable with a $250 fine, and third offenses carry a $500 penalty and a mandatory drug assessment. Not quite as liberal as the DC legislation, which makes possession of up to an ounce punishable by a maximum fine of $25.