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Maryland Bill To Decriminalize Drugs

Maryland House Bill 1119, sponsored by Delegate Dan Morhaim, aims to downgrade “violations relating to the use or possession of specified de minimis quantities of specified controlled dangerous substances” from misdemeanors to civil offenses; effectively decriminalizing drugs.

However, the bill also aims to penalize anyone for using or possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana or anyone possessing a “de minimis quantity of specified controlled dangerous substances”. It also explains the “procedural provisions” for issuing citations to anyone using or possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana or possessing a “de minimis quantity of specified controlled dangerous substances”.

The bill defines the “de minimis quantity of specified controlled dangerous substances” as less than:

  • 10 grams of marijuana
  • 2 grams of cocaine
  • 1 gram of heroin
  • 10 tablets of 3, 4–Methylenedioxymethamphetamine 4 (MDMA)
  • 0015 grams of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
  • 1 gram of Methadone
  • 1 gram of Amphetamine

According to the bill, anyone who uses or possesses marijuana can not be imprisoned for more than a year or fined more than $1000 or both. If it’s your first time using or possessing a “de minimis quantity of specified controlled dangerous substances”, you can not be fined more than $100. If it’s your second time, you can not be fined more than $250. On your third violation, you can not be fined more than $500.

There are some conditions to these fines though.

“In addition to a fine, a court shall order a person under the age of 21 years who commits a violation punishable under subsubparagraph 1, 2, or 3 of this subparagraph to attend a drug education program approved by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, refer the person to an assessment for substance abuse disorder, and refer the person to substance abuse treatment, if necessary.”

“In addition to a fine, a court shall order a person at least 21 years old who commits a violation punishable under subsubparagraph 3 of this subparagraph to attend a drug education program approved by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, refer the person to an assessment for substance abuse disorder, and refer the person to substance abuse treatment, if necessary.”

If you smoke marijuana in a public place, you can not be fined more than $500.

If a police officer cites you for using or possessing a “de minimis quantity of specified controlled dangerous substances”, the citation must include:

  • the name and address of the person charged
  • the date and time that the violation occurred
  • the fine that may be imposed
  • a notice stating that prepayment of the fine is allowed, except as provided in paragraph (2) of [subsection D]
  • a notice in boldface type that states the person shall
  1. pay the full amount of the preset fine; or
  2. request a trial date at the date, time, and place established by the District Court by writ or trial notice

If a person under 21 is cited, the court will summon that person for trial. If a person who is at least 21 has committed multiple violations, they will be summoned for trial also. However if the person is under 18, that person will be subject to Title 3, Subtitle 8A of the Courts Article.

Regarding citations, the bill states that “official record of a court regarding the citation are not subject to public inspection and may not be included on the public Web site maintained by the Maryland Judiciary.”

The bill aims to take effect October 1, 2016.

4 comments

  1. So nice to see our masters throwing us some crumbs.

  2. here it comes boys.

  3. Not good enough. The government went rogue years ago because it disobeys the very foundation of limited govt & liberty. It actively defies real law & order as described in the Constitution & our Bill of Rights. It ignores our Declaration of Independence & all constitutional supporting case laws. It does all of this, at it’s own peril I might add.
    All of this is nonsense. Pure & utter crapola. We don’t & never needed their permission to ingest medicines, herbs, botanicals or otherwise, drugs, for our own bodies or selling it either. People who buy stuff need to do their homework, if they die from something like heroin, well, too bad, but that’s not the seller’s fault either. It is wholly unconstitutional anyway. The “war” on drugs is a war on our liberties, has been since day 1. It is about govt control of everything! So those who defy govt “authority” are right in doing so, but the question is, how far will each of you go to defend that right?

    • Wendy Dee

      Man, even guys like you who basically have an educated opinion in these matters are still falling for some of the lies hammered into our heads since we had been kids:

      NOBODY – let me repeat that – absolutely NOBODY dies from Heroin or other opiods themselves. Those substances are not harmful to any organs, they aren’t toxic (as opposed to Alcohol, Tobacco or Crystal Meth for example) – People only die from Heroin and other Opiods like Fentanyl because of overdoses!

      Thanks to the idiotic and counterproductive drug laws, Heroin and similar substances are cut and people only die because they’ve taken the same amount as usual but unknowingly bought a batch which was stronger than the previous one – All of this thanks to the black markets and the moronic prohibition policies – only to be painted by the media and politicians as another victim of the allegedly so poisonous opiates …

      Stop swallowing the propaganda – The only thing killing people is the War On Drugs!

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