We work with growers and dispensaries all over the United States, and always have an eye on the legislative processes going on around the country at any given time. The progress over just a few years has been significant, and it’s gratifying that we’re now down to only six states where cannabis remains illegal (even for medical use), for example.
As a Maryland-based corporation, though, we pay special attention to what’s happening in our backyard, and there’s some progress to report there.
Following a failed attempt last year, the Maryland House last week approved legislation to allow voters to decide on the recreational cannabis question in November of 2022. If successful, recreational marijuana would become available in July of 2023.
The word “if” is key there. The measure still requires Senate approval and then, obviously, the referendum would have to pass. Maryland, though, is a solidly blue state in both its legislature and its population, and such measures tend to be viewed more favorably in Democrat-controlled states. The House approval was by a margin of nearly 2-to-1, so that’s an encouraging sign.
As with several attempts at the federal level, the legislation contains a social justice provision that would expunge the records of those convicted solely for cannabis possession and allow those in prison to petition to have their sentences reduced to time served.
The timeline of July 2023 might be just a bit optimistic. Maryland lawmakers approved medical cannabis in 2013, but it was another four years before it became available to the qualified public. There were legal battles over the awarding of licenses, rules to be drafted and adjustments made to the law.
With that heavy lifting done, though, and an infrastructure of medical dispensaries already in place, perhaps the path to recreational cannabis will be smoother.
If it passes in the Senate. And with the voters. Fingers crossed.