Eliminate Criminal Penalties for Marijuana

Act Now

Maryland voters overwhelmingly approved ending the criminalization of the recreational use of marijuana. The next step is to demand that legislators remove criminal penalties for marijuana-related offenses, such as possession with intent to distribute and possession of more than the civil-use amount. Eliminating these criminal penalties will ensure that Black people will not be vulnerable to continuing arrest patterns of police unfairly targeting and arresting Black people, despite legalization.

The "war on drugs" rhetoric is racist. Its enforcement has had catastrophic effects. Black and Brown people were scapegoated and over-policed for decades because of it. They continue to face the brunt of harsh penalties due to marijuana, despite decriminalization and similar rates of use among white and Black people. Let’s change Maryland laws to right this wrong.

Tell members of the House Judiciary and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana. Vote "Yes" on SB 73/HB 280.

Message Recipients:
House Judiciary and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Members

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Your Message
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Dear Committee Member,

As a Maryland resident, I urge you to support SB 73/HB 280 to remove criminal penalties for marijuana possession. Our marijuana laws are outdated, as we move towards legalization. I ask that you update our laws to reflect these current times.

The "war on marijuana" has had disastrous effects on Black communities across the nation and especially in Maryland. Because of the "war on marijuana," families were ripped apart, job and housing opportunities were stolen, and lives were destroyed while in prison or jail. Enough is enough.

Continuing to criminalize these offenses will have zero benefit to public safety, especially because the vast majority of those currently selling marijuana are subsistence dealers selling to survive. They do not make substantial profit and will not have access to a license to distribute marijuana lawfully. It is unfair to continue to levy any kind of punishment against them when wealthy, mostly white Marylanders will be able to engage in the same conduct legally and for profit.

The first step to remedy this wrong is to ensure our laws reflect our voter-approved intention to legalize marijuana. SB 73/HB 280 is urgently needed to put a stop to arresting and imprisoning individuals who possess marijuana more than the civil use amount and who possess with the intent to distribute.

Now that marijuana is being legalized, these offenses should be civil offenses, subject to citations and civil fines, not imprisonment. This matters because police disproportionately stop Black people at higher rates than white people, so we know that Black people will continue to be unfairly being targeted by harsh marijuana penalties. Let’s put a stop to this.

Take criminal penalties for marijuana possession off the books and vote "Yes" on SB 73/HB 280. It’s time to turn a new chapter to remedy the racist "war on marijuana."


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