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Senate OKs Fine For Small Amounts Of Marijuana

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — The Maryland Senate has voted to eliminate potential jail time for people who possess less than 10 grams of marijuana.

The Senate voted 30-16 on Tuesday for the measure, which would fine people $100 in civil court, if they possess the equivalent of about two joints or less.

Supporters say the measure will save the state money by relieving the strain such crimes put on the criminal justice system. Opponents worry that decriminalization could increase drug use among youth.

Meanwhile, the Maryland House Judiciary Committee is also scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday on a measure to legalize limited amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and older.

The bill would remove all penalties for private possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and cultivation of up to three plants.

The measure also would direct the Maryland comptroller to license marijuana retail stores, wholesale facilities and testing facilities.

The bill was introduced by Delegate Curt Anderson, D-Baltimore.

Pat Warren is following this story and will have the latest at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. on WJZ-TV.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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