O’Malley Will Sign Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana

April 8, 2014

Martin O'MalleyAfter a long-waged political battle, Gov. Martin O’Malley has indicated he will sign a bill that removes criminal penalties for possession 10 grams of marijuana or less.

The General Assembly OKed the measure on the last day of 90-day session Monday. With no debate, the Senate voted Monday 34-8 to approve the bill, SB 364. The House of Delegates already approved the bill Saturday.

O’Malley told reporters Monday that he plans to sign the legislation. “As a young prosecutor, I once thought that decriminalizing the possession of marijuana might undermine the public will necessary to combat drug violence and improve public safety,”

O’Malley said in a statement. “I now think that decriminalizing possession of marijuana is an acknowledgement of the low priority that our courts, our prosecutors, our police, and the vast majority of citizens already attach to this transgression of public order and public health.”

Under the bill, offenders will face fines that jump with subsequent breaches: $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and $300 for the third offense.

Changes to mollify House
The House Judiciary Committee had amended the bill from its original counterpart, in part to alleviate concerns from Judiciary Chairman Joseph Vallario, D-Prince George’s County.

The amendments dictate that anyone 21 and younger must appear in court and be evaluated for a substance abuse problem — anyone on a third strike must also appear in court.

Unaddressed in the bill is the fact that circumstantial paraphernalia remains illegal. Essentially, the presence of a bowl, bong, pipe, dime bag or similar apparatuses in a car would still give law enforcement cause to search the vehicle.

Possession of paraphernalia carries a $500 fine, but no jail time, according to the bill’s chief sponsor, Sen. Robert Zirkin, D-Baltimore County.

Zirkin said had he included a provision decriminalizing paraphernalia, but law enforcement officers would lose their ability to search a car in a lot of circumstances.

“That was a deliberate attempt on my part to keep it as law-and-ordery [sic] as possible,” he said. “It was a concern.”
Zirkin called the bill’s passage a bipartisan effort, signaling out Howard County Republican Sen. Allan Kittleman as a force in persuading the GOP into voting yes.

Eight Republicans and two Democrats voted against the bill, while seven Republicans voted in favor.

By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
Jeremy@marylandreporter.com

marylandreporter.com

14 Responses to O’Malley Will Sign Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana

  1. dear god... on April 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    please let his whole family be whiped out in a car wreck inflicted by a pot head..amen

    • Anonymous on April 8, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Really??? Wow. Before you wish DEATH upon a person and their family, learn how to spell ” wiped”.

    • emily on April 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      That’s not a very Christian thing to say!
      This is the best thing this gov has ever done!!

    • John M. on April 8, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      Wow, that’s a ridiculous comment. I have a feeling you’re a misinformed/uneducated person. The majority of the people who smoke marijuana ALREADY do regardless of law. And just because it’s been decriminalized doesn’t mean that highway fatalities are going to drastically increase. Alcohol is legal and affects your motor skills much more than cannabis, yet there aren’t constant drunken driving deaths every day. I understand that you may not like marijuana or may know people who have abused it, but there is such a thing as a responsible use of cannabis, you and many others don’t seem to grasp that. Worry about the prescription drug abuse problem in the county THATS whats destroying lives. The only way pot is ruining lives is the prohibitive laws that make get people locked up and give them a record for the rest of their life.

    • SmarterThanThatGuy on April 8, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      1) Marjiuana has never killed. You are more harmful to the entire planet than marijuana/cannabis.

      2) Cannabis cures cancer, reverses disease and relieves pain. You hate people and want to kill them because they use a natural God-given medication.

      3) You are insane.

  2. jo mama on April 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    I’m really hungry now. Anyone have any honey mustard salad dressing, oreos & snakehead sushi?

  3. Anonymous on April 8, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    This bill has passed because of two simple facts. They are: #1 The state can’t afford to prosecute and incarcerate all the people that get arrested on possession charges. And #2 the entire legal system cannot enforce a law that a sizable portion of the population does not agree with.

  4. Mike S on April 8, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Good, it’s about time we took a step in the right direction. However, people still have to purchase cannabis illicitly and it’s unregulated and not taxed. We should have had full legalization years ago.

  5. Correctly interpreted, this means on April 8, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    there will now be a permission fee to pay for Marijuana/ marijuana in the state. Kind of like a tax. It also means criminal defense attorneys won’t be getting at least 600 a pop for Marijuana possession arrests. No, there probably aren’t lawyers camping out in Annapolis each year, requesting the elimination of certain laws in the state, or requesting that their income go down.

  6. SmarterThanThatGuy on April 8, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    This is a reasonable step towards reducing wasted time, dollars and man-power on a harmless plant that actually is a medicine which reverses disease and relieves pain in a safer manner than any other legal medication.

    The full legalization will eliminate drug-dealers and therefore the crimes, deaths/murder, gang-connections and basically shut down the dangerous, criminal and completely unnecessary BLACK MARKET that is CREATED by IMPROPER LEGISLATION.

    Improper legislature is/are laws that cause more harm, death, violence, crime or stress for the people than their supposed restrictions can avoid.

    In fact, since cannabis is a medicine and there are absolutely zero deaths that can be scientifically proven to be directly caused by cannabis use, ANY pressure, stress, pain, violence, inconvenience caused by cannabis laws are IMPROPER/FALSE LEGISLATURE.

    These laws are not designed to protect the public, they are actually formed from a racist campaign against blacks and mexicans who frequently used the herb in the 1930’s. The man Harry J. Anslinger became the first drug czar and used ridiculous propaganda and down-right deception and lies to get what he wanted. He told the public, who already used the plant in the form of “cannabis tinctures”…sold as medicine from pharmacies around the nation…..that this new “marijuana”, previously unknown to them, was “evil, mind-warping” and would “kill it’s users”.

    In fact, these were all lies and this whole campaign was a media/street theater show in which the big lumber and paper mills/corporations + big pharmaceutical companies at the time (think DUPONT) cooperated to pull this facade over the public’s eyes.

    The whole point to this is that cannabis was and IS a medicine. And when it was made illegal, it was done so that the PHARMACEUTICAL companies, the PAPER AND LUMBER corporations, would all stand to PROFIT.

    More so, blacks and mexicans could be directly prejudiced against, because at the earliest times, they were the one’s bringing the most cannabis in the country.

    What’s even more disturbing is that part of this was to organize a way to arrest and incarcerate the minorities of the population so that the prison and judiciary system could profit as well.

    Basically this:
    “Federal and state government has a long history of contracting out specific services to private firms, including medical services, food preparation, vocational training, and inmate transportation. The 1980s, though, ushered in a new era of prison privatization. With a burgeoning prison population resulting from the War on Drugs and increased use of incarceration, prison overcrowding and rising costs became increasingly problematic for local, state, and federal governments. In response to this expanding criminal justice system, private business interests saw an opportunity for expansion, and consequently, private-sector involvement in prisons moved from the simple contracting of services to contracting for the complete management and operation of entire prisons.[9]-WIKIPEDIA – Private Prison in the US”

    All started then.

  7. screwuomalley on April 8, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    this POS is just buying votes…stupid sheep.

    • emily on April 9, 2014 at 8:22 am

      Baaaaaah!!

    • Anonymous on April 9, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      Yep, and look at all the idiots above that have jumped on the bandwagon.

      • John M. on April 9, 2014 at 4:47 pm

        Not me. Im a pro legalization Libertarian but I strongly dislike O’Malley. He certainly won’t get my vote.