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Maryland Lawmakers Move on Cannabis Legalization Bill

March 5, 2021

Maryland lawmakers discussed a cannabis legalization bill including regulatory framework and social equity measures. 

Among matters discussed were ways to merge the Senate’s legislation with a separate proposal in Maryland’s House of Delegates. The bill’s leading sponsor, Sen. Brain Feldman (D), also used the meeting to get feedback from the Senate Finance Committee as he “didn’t have a good take of where the committee is and where the concerns are.” As a result, the Senate Finance Committee did not vote on the measure. 

Details of Proposed Cannabis Legalization Bill in Maryland 

Under Feldman’s version of the bill — SB 708 — adults aged 21 and older could purchase and possess products containing up to 1,500 milligrams of THC or four ounces of marijuana in total. The bill would also allow for residents to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal cultivation, an issue that has been contentious in other states across the country.

The bill closely emulates the House’s version of the bill — House Bill 32 — although some differences remain around things like business licensing, social equity concerns, and other regulatory matters. Generally, The House Bill is preferred among social and racial equity advocates. 

Maryland Hopes For Unity Between Bills 

Feldman told his colleagues in the Senate that he’s been working closely with Del. Jazz Lewis (D), who introduced the House version of the bill, hoping that a compromise can be struck to create cohesiveness as the state moves forward with the legislature. 

Feldman noted that he didn’t want to introduce any potential amendments before consulting with the Senate Finance Committee. Now that he has done so, he sees a bright future ahead for marijuana legalization. 

“The differences now are actually very narrow,” Feldman said. “I’m pretty confident we can come up with one bill.” 

Contributed by Jack Berning