Recreational users of marijuana may be able to legally smoke by the Fourth of July if the state house continues at the pace as planned.
On Wednesday, state delegates gave preliminary approval to create a legal marketplace for marijuana sales.
The legislation, known as House Bill 556, would regulate and tax marijuana.
Here’s what you should know about the legislation:
- Marylanders may possess up to 1 1/2 ounces of marijuana.
- Medical cannabis patients may grow up to four plants.
- Cannabis would be taxed at 6% for the first year and increase by 1% each year until 2018. It would be capped at 10%.
- But the day started with long and sometimes emotional debate as Republicans made at least six attempts to amend the bill, all of which failed. Concerns included everything from drug testing at the workplace to driving under the influence.
Under the legislation, the revenue from the tax would be used as outlined below:
- 30% would go to a community reinvestment fund for 10 years.
- 1.5% of the money to go to local jurisdictions.
- 1.5% of the funds to a cannabis business assistance fund.
- Existing medical cannabis facilities can also sell recreational marijuana if they’ve paid a fee.
The House will need to give its final approval before the legislation moves to the Senate.
The legislation is cross-filed with Senate Bill 516 and will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee later today.
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