Blog

Maryland Marijuana Laws

Do you have questions about the current Maryland marijuana laws and penalties?  Attorney Randolph Rice has compiled the Maryland Marijuana Laws as of October 1, 2014.

If you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana or you’re facing marijuana possession charges in Maryland, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Attorney Randolph Rice is a Maryland criminal defense lawyer.  He has handled thousands of marijuana possession cases as both a defense attorney and a former Assistant State’s Attorney.  Contact his office at 410-288-2900 or email the office for immediate legal help.

Maryland Marijuana Laws

Criminal Law Title 5. Controlled Dangerous Substances, Prescriptions, Other Substances.

Subtitle 6. Crime Involving Controlled Dangerous Substances and Paraphernalia

Maryland Criminal Law Code §5-601  (As of October 1, 2014)

5-601. Possessing or administering controlled dangerous substance.

(a) In general. Except as otherwise provided in this title, a person may not:

(1) possess or administer to another a controlled dangerous substance, unless obtained directly or by prescription or order from an authorized provider acting in the course of professional practice; or

(2) obtain or attempt to obtain a controlled dangerous substance, or procure or attempt to procure the administration of a controlled dangerous substance by:
(i) fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge;
(ii) the counterfeiting or alteration of a prescription or a written order;
(iii) the concealment of a material fact;
(iv) the use of a false name or address;
(v) falsely assuming the title of or representing to be a manufacturer, distributor, or authorized provider; or
(vi) making, issuing, or presenting a false or counterfeit prescription or written order.

(b) Information not privileged. — Information that is communicated to a physician in an effort to obtain a controlled dangerous substance in violation of this section is not a privileged communication.

Penalty for Possession of Marijuana in Maryland

(c) Penalty; mitigating factors; substance abuse programs.

*Section 1 Applies to the Penalty for Possession of Non-Marijuana (i.e. heroin, cocaine, etc)

(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection, a person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 4 years or a fine not exceeding $ 25,000 or both.

(2) (i) Except as provided in subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph, a person whose violation of this section involves the use or possession of marijuana is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or both.

(ii) 1. A first violation of this section involving the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is a civil offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $ 100.

2. A second violation of this section involving the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is a civil offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $ 250.

3. A third or subsequent violation of this section involving the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is a civil offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $ 500.

4. A. In addition to a fine, a court shall order a person under the age of 21 years who commits a violation punishable under subsubparagraph 1, 2, or 3 of this subparagraph to attend a drug education program approved by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, refer the person to an assessment for substance abuse disorder, and refer the person to substance abuse treatment, if necessary.

B. In addition to a fine, a court shall order a person at least 21 years old who commits a violation punishable under subsubparagraph 3 of this subparagraph to attend a drug education program approved by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, refer the person to an assessment for substance abuse disorder, and refer the person to substance abuse treatment, if necessary.

(3) (i) 1. In this paragraph the following words have the meanings indicated.

2. “Bona fide physician-patient relationship” means a relationship in which the physician has ongoing responsibility for the assessment, care, and treatment of a patient’s medical condition.

3. “Caregiver” means an individual designated by a patient with a debilitating medical condition to provide physical or medical assistance to the patient, including assisting with the medical use of marijuana, who:

A. is a resident of the State;
B. is at least 21 years old;
C. is an immediate family member, a spouse, or a domestic partner of the patient;
D. has not been convicted of a crime of violence as defined in § 14-101 of this article;
E. has not been convicted of a violation of a State or federal controlled dangerous substances law;
F. has not been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude;
G. has been designated as caregiver by the patient in writing that has been placed in the patient’s medical record prior to arrest;
H. is the only individual designated by the patient to serve as caregiver; and
I. is not serving as caregiver for any other patient.

4. “Debilitating medical condition” means a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment of a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces one or more of the following, as documented by a physician with whom the patient has a bona fide physician-patient relationship:

A. cachexia or wasting syndrome;
B. severe or chronic pain;
C. severe nausea;
D. seizures;
E. severe and persistent muscle spasms; or
F. any other condition that is severe and resistant to conventional medicine.

Mitigating Factors for Possession of Marijuana in Maryland

(ii) 1. In a prosecution for the use or possession of marijuana, the defendant may introduce and the court shall consider as a mitigating factor any evidence of medical necessity.

2. Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of this subsection, if the court finds that the person used or possessed marijuana because of medical necessity, on conviction of a violation of this section, the maximum penalty that the court may impose on the person is a fine not exceeding $ 100.

(iii) 1. In a prosecution for the use or possession of marijuana under this section, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant used or possessed marijuana because:

A. the defendant has a debilitating medical condition that has been diagnosed by a physician with whom the defendant has a bona fide physician-patient relationship;

B. the debilitating medical condition is severe and resistant to conventional medicine; and

C. marijuana is likely to provide the defendant with therapeutic or palliative relief from the debilitating medical condition.

2. A. In a prosecution for the possession of marijuana under this section, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant possessed marijuana because the marijuana was intended for medical use by an individual with a debilitating medical condition for whom the defendant is a caregiver.

B. A defendant may not assert the affirmative defense under this subsubparagraph unless the defendant notifies the State’s Attorney of the defendant’s intention to assert the affirmative defense and provides the State’s Attorney with all documentation in support of the affirmative defense in accordance with the rules of discovery provided in Maryland Rules 4-262 and 4-263.

3. An affirmative defense under this subparagraph may not be used if the defendant was:

A. using marijuana in a public place or assisting the individual for whom the defendant is a caregiver in using the marijuana in a public place; or

B. in possession of more than 1 ounce of marijuana.

(d) Effect of (c)(2)(ii) on other laws. The provisions of subsection (c)(2)(ii) of this section making the possession of marijuana a civil offense may not be construed to affect the laws relating to:

(1) operating a vehicle or vessel while under the influence of or while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance; or
(2) seizure and forfeiture.

Citation for Possession of Less Than 10 Grams of Marijuana in Maryland

Maryland Criminal Law Code §5-601.1  (As of October 1, 2014)

5-601.1. Citation for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana.

(a) In general. A police officer shall issue a citation to a person who the police officer has probable cause to believe has committed a violation of § 5-601 of this part involving the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana.

(b) Civil offense.
(1) A violation of § 5-601 of this part involving the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is a civil offense.
(2) Adjudication of a violation under § 5-601 of this part involving the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana:
(i) is not a criminal conviction for any purpose; and
(ii) does not impose any of the civil disabilities that may result from a criminal conviction.

Contents of Civil Citation

(c) Contents.

(1) A citation issued for a violation of § 5-601 of this part involving the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana shall be signed by the police officer who issues the citation and shall contain:
(i) the name and address of the person charged;
(ii) the date and time that the violation occurred;
(iii) the location at which the violation occurred;
(iv) the fine that may be imposed;
(v) a notice stating that prepayment of the fine is allowed, except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection; and
(vi) a notice in boldface type that states that the person shall:
1. pay the full amount of the preset fine; or
2. request a trial date at the date, time, and place established by the District Court by writ or trial notice.

(2) (i) If a citation for a violation of § 5-601 of this part involving the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is issued to a person under the age of 21 years, the court shall summon the person for trial.
(ii) If the court finds that a person at least 21 years old has committed a third or subsequent violation of § 5-601 of this part involving the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, the court shall summon the person for trial.

(d) Form. — The form of the citation shall be uniform throughout the State and shall be prescribed by the District Court.

(e) Schedule for prepayment of fine. — The Chief Judge of the District Court shall establish a schedule for the prepayment of the fine.

(f) Applicability of procedures and dispositions provided in Title 3, Subtitle 8A of the Courts Article. — A person issued a citation for a violation of § 5-601 of this part involving the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana who is under the age of 18 years shall be subject to the procedures and dispositions provided in Title 3, Subtitle 8A of the Courts Article.

(g) Confidentiality. — A citation for a violation of § 5-601 of this part involving the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana and the official record of a court regarding the citation are not subject to public inspection and may not be included on the public Web site maintained by the Maryland Judiciary.

What happens if I was charged with possession of marijuana before the law took affect on October 1, 2014?

If you were charged with possession of marijuana before October 1, 2014, you would subject to the law before October 1, 2014.  It does not matter the trial date for your case but the date you were charged.

Do I need a lawyer for possession of Marijuana in Maryland?

Yes, you need a lawyer for possession of marijuana in Maryland if:

  1. You have to appear in Court;
  2. You are charged criminally and not by a civil citation;
  3. If you have been charged by civil citation by you want to contest the possession charge;
  4. You have been charged with possession of marijuana and it is not the less than 10 grams charge.

If you need a lawyer for possession of marijuana in Maryland, contact the Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice, Jr., LLC, at 410-288-2900 for immediate legal help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

c