The Maryland general assembly is debating a marijuana legalization and regulation bill during the 2014 session.  A similar bill was introduced during the legislative session last year.  It won in the Senate but not the House. Unfortunately, the legalization bill is unlikely to pass due to stiff opposition in the House of Delegates and Governor O’Malley indicating that he would not support the measure to legalize and tax marijuana.

Ironically, the states that are sending teams to the Superbowl, Colorado and Washington have both ended prohibition of marijuana and have decided to allow for the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana.  In Denver, Colorado and Seattle, Washington, marijuana users no longer face time in jail, fines or the consequences of losing student loan aid because of marijuana.

So why isn’t Maryland joining Colorado and Washington in ending these injustices?  Unfortunately, that answer is too complicated to answer here.  But it is important to note, that in Washington and Colorado the vote to legalize marijuana was put on the ballots and won.  Maryland does not have the same system to put bills directly on the ballot, so we have a slow and a sometimes surprisingly conservative legislative process that needs time and political courage to move legalization forward.

Here is the article discussing the Marijuana Control Act of 2014.