A Maryland House committee began discussion this week of a pair of bills to legalize and regulate cannabis in the state—one that would ask voters whether legalize cannabis use and possession by adults 21 and older, and another that would begin the work of crafting rules for the would-be legal industry. Both measures are from Del. Luke Clippinger (D), who chairs Maryland’s House Judiciary Committee, which gave the bills an initial hearing on Monday. Last year, Clippinger headed a House working group launched last summer by House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D) to study cannabis legalization in anticipation of the November 2022 ballot question. “I think it’s time for us to start this work now,” Clippinger said at Monday’s hearing. “I think that having this referendum and a clear statement from [voters of] the state of Maryland as to what they want to do will be helpful to the next governor in setting up that new structure.” The committee did not vote on the bills, instead of hearing spending several hours discussing their provisions and hearing testimony from the public. The bills considered by the House Judiciary Committee are among at least five cannabis legalization measures introduced so far this session by lawmakers in Maryland, where a survey last October found that the policy reform was more popular than President Joe Biden (D). Two other legalization bills have been introduced in the Senate, and a competing House measure was filed earlier this month. Clippinger’s two proposals are relatively straightforward. The first, HB 1, would ask voters to approve an amendment to the state’s constitution to legalize cannabis use and possession by adults at least 21 years old. It would further direct lawmakers to set laws to “provide for the use, distribution, regulation, and taxation of cannabis within the state.”

Ben Adlin, Marijuana Moment, 02/14/2022 13:48:00

Open article: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/maryland-lawmakers-take-first-step-to-putting-marijuana-legalization-on-2022-ballot-with-hearing-on-two-bills/