The marijuana laws are changing drastically everyday all throughout the nation. Local legislatures have slowly begun to lower (and in some jurisdictions – erase) criminal penalties for marijuana-related offenses. Maryland marijuana laws have changed in recent years and it is important to be aware of these changes, as marijuana-related offenses can still result in significant legal consequences.
Decriminalization vs. Legalization
People often use these two terms interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. In fact, there is a significant difference between the two. Legalization refers to the ability to do something without facing any penalty, criminal or civil, whatsoever. Decriminalization means that the act is still viewed as a crime, but with lesser penalties and minimal risk of facing incarceration if convicted. States such as Colorado and California have ‘legalized’ possession of marijuana but Maryland has ‘decriminalized’ possession of marijuana.
Maryland Marijuana Laws
As mentioned, Maryland has decriminalized possession of marijuana. Possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana is a civil offense and the offender will be issued a citation. There is no criminal penalty – meaning no potential for jail time and no criminal record. Violators who are under the age of 21 will be required to attend a court hearing and the judge may order the offender into drug treatment at his or her discretion. In addition, smoking marijuana in a public place is a civil offense which carries a fine of up to $500.
An individual found in possession of more than 10 grams will be charged with a crime, and if convicted, the offender faces potential incarceration, criminal penalties, and a criminal record. Depending on the amount of marijuana the individual has on them, they can be charged with possession with the intent to distribute as well, which is a felony in Maryland.
Getting Legal Help for Drug Offenses in Baltimore
The Law Offices of Randolph Rice has helped hundreds of clients who have been charged with marijuana related offenses in Baltimore and the surrounding areas. We understand the Maryland court system and will fight to ensure that justice is served. If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, call 410.288.2900 today to discuss your charges. We offer free initial consultations and are happy to help you understand the charges that have been brought against you. If you prefer to contact us online, please use our online contact form.