MARYLAND (DC News Now) — With election day just around the corner, Maryland voters have 5 referendum questions to consider. One of them focuses on legalizing recreational cannabis.
Currently, in Maryland, medical cannabis is legal. Question 4 on this year’s statewide ballot addresses legalizing recreational cannabis with certain restrictions.
- People must be over 21
- Can not possess more than one and a half ounces of cannabis
- Can not smoke in public
- Cannabis products can not contain more than 750 milligrams of THC
- People can grow 2 plants in their homes
The referendum question is based on HB 837 which passed through the General Assembly earlier this year. The bill would prevent people from possessing large amounts of cannabis which could even lead to fines or jail time if found suspicion of distribution.
If this referendum passes, it would open doors to recreational cannabis shops and create a business fund to support small, minority, or female-owned shops.
“I look forward to that because it’s just going to create more opportunities for growers to put different kinds of products into the market,” Maryland voter and recreational cannabis supporter Alicia S. explained. “Marijuana as you know is something that can be used to better their every day and their everyday lives and restore their quality of life.”
Some medical cannabis experts are hesitant about a potential decrease in quality and product regulations. Tiara Artis is a medical cannabis dispensary worker who is also working toward her Masters in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics at the University of Baltimore. While she supports question 4, she has reservations.
With it becoming unregulated, there’s going to be wiggle room for companies to say lie about the testing of how much THC is in all of these products,” Artis explained. “What we’ve seen in some of the other recreational markets is that there’s not a complete chemical makeup listed for the patients on the back of their products and patients need to know what’s in their products.”
Other voters were uncertain about question 4. Some believe recreational cannabis could become a nuisance in public places.
“My thoughts on it is it could be a good idea. The problem is people are stupid enough as it is and now you’re gonna give them drugs on top of it. I don’t know how I feel about that,” Bethesda voter Howard Teger said.
If this referendum passes, it will make Maryland the 20th state in the country to legalize recreational cannabis, which would go into effect in July of next year.