Maryland’s House speaker Adrienne Jones has announced her support this month for a referendum to legalize marijuana on next year’s ballot.
The Baltimore County Democrat, also announced a panel to study how to implement a recreational marijuana program in Maryland, if voters approve the ballot question in November of 2022.
“While I have personal concerns about encouraging marijuana use, particularly among children and young adults, the disparate criminal justice impact leads me to believe that the voters should have a say in the future of legalization,” Jones said in a statement. “The House will pass legislation early next year to put this question before the voters but we need to start looking at changes needed to State law now.”
Del. Luke Clippinger, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, will lead the panel.
According to Clippinger, it will establish the legal frameworks needed to fully implement legalized marijuana and learn from mistakes other states have made.
The panel will determine regulatory, licensing and oversight structure of the production, sale and possession of legalized cannabis. That includes the licensing application process, number of licenses and equity in ownership of marijuana facilities.
The panel will also address expungement of previous convictions for cannabis and address expungement of previous convictions for cannabis and existing criminal laws.
The group will craft a taxation structure and revenue distribution from cannabis proceeds and expand addiction treatment programs.
“The Speaker has been clear that we will do this with an eye toward equity and consideration to Black and brown neighborhoods and businesses historically impacted by cannabis use,” the Democrat said.