WASHINGTON (WJZ) — A landmark moment in Washington, D.C. as voters approve legal marijuana in the district. But with D.C. right in our backyard, police in Maryland worry legalization is happening too close to home.
Christie Ileto has more on the potential impact on Maryland.
It’s been a hot button issue here, and now that it’s legal to light up in D.C., some are concerned we see more of the illegal substance here in Maryland.
Legalizing marijuana is a hit with Maryland’s neighbor, Washington, D.C. Voters there approved legal possession of up to two ounces, the growing of up to six plants and sharing–not selling–of up to an ounce.
“It says that decriminalization alone is not enough,” said Rachelle Yeung, Marijuana Policy Project.
Like Maryland, the District of Columbia this year softened its heavy hand approach to smoking pot.
“Now that possession has been decriminalized in Maryland, I think legislators have to think about where people are getting that marijuana next and how legal access, which is coming in D.C., will affect that,” Yeung said.
“If you buy it in D.C., you’re going to keep it in D.C. You’re not going to bring it into Maryland,” said Sgt. Marc Black, Maryland State Police.
Maryland State Police say it’s too early to tell if this will mean more pot coming to our state.
“But if they do come across the line into Maryland, they are subject to Maryland law,” Sgt. Black said.
As of last month, possessing even the smallest amount of marijuana in Maryland no longer comes with jail time, but a civil violation, following failed attempts this past session to legalize it.
“It’s harmful to teenagers, it’s harmful to young adults,” said Maryland Congressman Andy Harris.
Harris has long vowed to pump the brakes on what many consider a gateway drug.
“Last thing you need is legalized marijuana,” he said.
An uphill battle that was won in D.C., and a fight that could be coming next to Maryland.
While legal marijuana passed in D.C., it still has to be submitted to Congress for approval. They have 60 days to review it.
Someone caught with less than 10 grams of pot in Maryland risks a suspended license and fines.
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