A huge oversight (or was it deliberate?) from last year’s marijuana decriminalization law is about to be corrected.
Maryland state legislatures have passed Senate Bill 517 in both the House of Delegates, and now the Senate, which would make possession of marijuana paraphernalia (pipes, bongs, rolling papers, grinders, etc) no longer a crime, to match the decriminalization of the possession of under 10 grams of weed.
On the negative side, this bill will also set a $500 civil fine for smoking cannabis in public.
Some had previously speculated that the paraphernalia being left out was deliberate, leaving the cops with a convenient excuse to bust people if they felt like it. Since anyone carrying a bag of weed is very likely to have a means or device to smoke it with, it was an easy work around for cops who might not be on board with decriminalization.
But the strong majority support for this bill in both houses suggests that state lawmakers are serious about legitimately ending senseless and wasteful arrests for simple marijuana possession.
Of course Maryland is still far behind our neighbors in the district, which enacted full marijuana legalization, along with the legal authority to grow and share, but not sell weed.
There is also another bill moving through the Maryland legislature that could increase the amount of marijuana decriminalized to 20 grams, which would be a slightly more reasonable amount.
Governor Larry Hogan does not have a publicly declared position on this particular bill, but has previously expressed support for the decriminalization bill, but does not support full Colorado style legalization for recreational use. If he signs it, the marijuana paraphernalia bill will take effect on 10/15/2015.
(Hat tip to Daily Chronic for the story.)