ANNAPOLIS–Maryland voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum (Question 4) directing state lawmakers to establish rules and regulations governing the production and sale of cannabis to adults.
“Maryland voters have overwhelmingly rejected the failed policy of prohibition and voted for the common sense policy of legalization,” commented NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “For far too many decades, Maryland’s prohibition has been an utter failure and which has had devastating consequences on already marginalized communities in the state. By voting for legalization, Marylanders have rejected the failed ideas of the past and have chosen to reform their laws to protect civil liberties and promote racial justice.”
“State lawmakers have had many years to prepare for this moment,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Statewide polling had consistently shown that a supermajority of Marylanders support legalizing cannabis, and the outcome of this referendum was never in doubt. Now it is incumbent upon lawmakers to move swiftly to adopt rules to oversee a regulated cannabis marketplace in accordance with voters’ demands.”
“Maryland voters were loud and clear in their support for legalizing the responsible adult-use of cannabis,” said Maryland NORML Executive Director Losia Nyankale. “Question 4 activates long overdue changes to Maryland’s judicial, social, and economic climates. This is an important first step in the right direction.”
Luke Jones, Maryland NORML Director of Legislative Affairs said, “This is a historic step toward a more just and rational public policy. Maryland NORML has been to Annapolis year-after-year demanding cannabis policy reform, and tonight our voices have been heard.”
By approving Question 4, voters also triggered the enactment of separate, complementary legislation (HB 837) defining cannabis possession limits and facilitating the automatic review and expungement of low-level cannabis convictions. Under the legislation, which was passed by lawmakers this spring, adults will be legally permitted to possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis and/or 12 grams of cannabis concentrates beginning in July 2023. Adults will also be permitted to grow up to two cannabis plants in their homes for their own personal use. Possessing amounts between 1.5 ounces and 2.5 ounces will be subject to civil fines, while the possession of greater quantities will remain subject to existing criminal penalties.
Maryland is the 20th state to legalize cannabis for adult use, and it is the second to do so via the passage of a popular referendum.