Marijuana is now decriminalized in Maryland

Now the penalty for getting caught with a small amount of marijuana in Maryland is a small fine instead of possible jail time. Back in April Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed into law SB 364, but the law didn’t take effect until today, October 1st. This makes Maryland the 17th state plus D.C. where marijuana is decriminalized, according to NORML.

Under the new rules adult possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is just a civil infraction similar to a parking ticket, instead of a criminal offense. The first time a person is caught with a small amount of marijuana they will be subject to only a $100 fine. If the individual is caught a second time, the fine increases to $250. A third incident can result in even higher fines and possibly attendance in a drug education program.

While this is a very positive step, the people of Maryland would like to see their legislature go even farther. Polling shows that a majority of adults in the state support fully legalizing marijuana.

Perhaps after their neighbors in the District of Colombia voted overwhelmingly in support of the marijuana legalization initiative for the ballot this November, officials in Maryland may seriously consider the policy.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy

Photo by Smith Island Maryland under Creative Commons license

Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at