Many states across the country have made the choice to legalize marijuana. Supporters say that doing so allows the drug to be regulated much like alcohol, but others fear that legalization could create new problems. Maryland recently introduced legislation that would not only legalize the possession of marijuana in certain circumstances but would also expunge the records of those who have been arrested for related drug charges. There are still many hurdles before a law might be enacted, but it could be a game-changer for many people.
What’s in the bill?
The bill currently under consideration, House Bill 32, would make it legal for people age 21 or older to possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana. It will also expunge records for those convicted of possessing or cultivating amounts considered legal under the new law. Supporters say that they also want to see the promotion of legal marijuana business within communities that are often disproportionally affected by these types of arrests.
However, this legislation is not without its critics, including the automotive club AAA, which says studies show higher fatal crash rates and insurance premiums in states that legalize marijuana. Others also worry about minors having an easier time accessing marijuana. Still, those who support this legislation say that minors have plenty of ability to obtain marijuana even though it is currently illegal, and that driving under the influence of marijuana will still be illegal.
Where to turn after arrest?
Even if this bill passes, for the time being, there are still laws in place that make possession and distribution of marijuana illegal. Just because someone is accused of possessing or selling a drug that is legal in certain circumstances doesn’t mean that the court system won’t harshly punish those convicted. Maryland residents facing any type of drug charges may want to think about their options for criminal defense. This may include working with an attorney who understands just how much conviction could alter a person’s life.