The Senate passed the decriminalization measure on a 30-16 vote, reports The Associated Press. It would fine people just $100 in civil court if they possess the equivalent of 10 to 15 joints (depending on how big you roll ’em).
The measure will save Maryland money by getting minor marijuana offenses out of the criminal justice system, according to supporters. Opponents, predictably, are claiming that decrim could “increase drug use” among youth, despite the fact that studies have shown a decrease in marijuana use among youth after decriminalization.
The decrim measure now goes to the House for a vote.
The Maryland House Judiciary Committee also held a separate hearing Tuesday on a measure to legalize limited amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and older.
This bill would remove all penalties for private possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, and for cultivation of up to three plants.
Introduced by Delegate Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore), it would also direct the Maryland comptroller to license retail marijuana stores, wholesale facilities and testing labs.