The leader of the Maryland Senate on Monday said marijuana legalization is “beyond past due” in the state, but he seemed reluctant to embrace a 2022 voter referendum on the issue that the House speaker proposed last week. Instead, he wants to pass a bill to end cannabis prohibition sooner than next November. Senate President Bill Ferguson (D) was asked about the ballot proposal from House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D) during an interview with WBAL NewsRadio. He indicated that the legislature should expediently tackle the reform, rather than wait to have voters decide on the issue. “An overwhelming majority of folks believe that our policy around marijuana has been fatally flawed,” he said. “This is an issue that I thought we needed [to[ reform for a very long time. I think it’s beyond past due.“What I’m hoping for this year is that we can put forward a real framework,” Ferguson, who cosponsored a legalization bill this session, said. “Look, there are very real concerns, be it around drugged driving or access to children. All of those things are absolutely essential and so that’s why it’s the responsibility of the General Assembly to put forward a framework that takes care of all of those issues and is thoughtful in the way that we approach adult use.” But because of the lack of action in the legislature so far and the need to address criminal justice disparities in cannabis criminalization, House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D) said last week that that “leads me to believe that the voters should have a say in the future of legalization.”Jones has also appointed a 10-member working group to study a range of issues related to legalizing and regulating cannabis.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 07/19/2021 14:35:00