Legislators: Possession of 10 grams of pot not a drug crime

Legislators: Possession of 10 grams of pot not a drug crime

Maryland’s medical marijuana program has officially been revived,
though it appears that patients might have to wait for more than 15 months
until they can purchase the drug again in the state. Families throughout
the region are rejoicing that they will no longer be charged with
drug offenses for providing controversial — but often extraordinarily effective
— treatments to their severely ill children. State government has
been active in efforts to decriminalize the possession of less than 10
grams of marijuana, as well, though many are still questioning the implementation
of the new laws.

One of the major concerns about the 10-gram measure involves continued
search and seizure. Lawmakers must determine whether officers are permitted
to continue to search a resident for more drugs if just 10 grams or less
are found on the person. Attorneys may be able to provide answers for
defendants who have been victimized by unfair search and seizure, but
the proposed laws are still unclear on this matter. Law enforcement officers
say they are worried about running afoul of the provision.

Maryland regulators say they intend to implement a program that has far
stricter controls than that in California and other medical-marijuana
states. Rules will be put in place to prevent recreational users from
getting their hands on the drug. Those controls will not actually be approved
for some time, though, and estimates show that patients could wait until
late 2015 to actually receive their product.

Decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana will have positive implications
for non-violent offenders who would have otherwise faced drug possession
charges. The law has not yet been implemented, however, so defendants
cannot yet enjoy its provisions. Criminal defense attorneys may be able
to answer questions about the new law, allowing defendants to learn more
about their legal rights and options.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Md.’s marijuana laws leave unanswered questions” Mark Puente & Michael Dresser, Apr. 14, 2014