Maryland’s marijuana decriminalization law doesn’t take effect until Oct 1, but it would not have covered this incident where an estimated 650 pounds of marijuana was seized. (The new decriminalization law only applies to 10 grams, so this was about 30,000 times over the limit.)
The massive marijuana cultivation operation in Dorchester County was busted with 647 plans and a value of $650,000.
The scale of this operation is all the more incredible in that none of the neighbors suspected that this quiet house and lot had such an extensive indoor and agricultural effort happening.
Attitudes towards marijuana use are changing rapidly across the nation. In Maryland, recent polling shows 53% of Marylanders support legalizing cannabis for adults, and only 28% oppose. Heather Mizeur ran a serious campaign for Governor of the state on an explicit legalization platform, and finished a solid 3rd in the Democratic primary, with over 20% of the vote.
Legalization of weed is just not a radical fringe issue anymore, and advocating for reform does not disqualify you from serious consideration for public office.
And legalization in Colorado has has virtually no negative impact on the state that anyone can find since retail stores opened on the first of this year. Last month, retail stores also opened in Washington state.
Alaska and Oregon are likely be added to the list of states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use, if ballot initiatives pass this November. Both are favored in polling. Looking forward to the 2016 election cycle, have a dozen or more additional states could join the club.
But other state legislatures could even jump the gun by legalizing with direct legislation. Rhode Island or Vermont are considered among the best bets.
Could Maryland be one of them? Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown is a strong supporter of decriminalization, but hasn’t really taking a position on legalization.
Given how quickly the ground is shifting, it could become a big issue in state legislative sessions as soon as next year.
But until then, the black market will continue to thrive. The demand is there, and there is money to be made. If the states don’t want a piece of the tax revenue, illegal operations will thrive, as they have for decades.
As far as the defendant’s in this case, they are still looking at felony drug charges, and up to 5 years in prison.
The report says that after being dried, and some samples tested for evidence purposes, the rest of the haul will be destroyed in an open-air burn. No word on the time or place of the burn for those hoping to stand downwind when it happens.