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Annapolis, MD: Legislation (House Bill 1071) limiting the way police interact with persons who either possess or have recently smoked cannabis has become law absent the signature of Democratic Gov. Wes Moore. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2023.

Provisions in the law stipulate: “A law enforcement officer may not initiate a stop or search of a person, a motor vehicle, or a vessel based solely on one or more of the following: the odor of burnt or unburnt cannabis, the possession or suspicion of possession of cannabis that does not exceed the personal amount limit, the presence of cash or currency in proximity to cannabis. … Evidence discovered or obtained in violation of this section … is not admissible in a trial, a hearing, or any other proceeding.”

Marijuana possession and home cultivation becomes legal on July 1, 2023. Retail sales of cannabis products are anticipated to begin soon afterward.

Provisions in the new law also reduce penalties for the public use of cannabis to a civil fine of either $50 (for a first offense) or $150 (for a subsequent offense.)

Additional information on pending legislation is available from NORML’s Action Center.

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