Starting October 1, anyone caught with ten grams of pot or less in Maryland will face a ticket instead of jail time. Fines increase with each time you’re busted, starting at $100 on first offense, $250 on second offense and mandatory clinical assessment for substance abuse on third offense.
While the move is certainly a step in the right direction, some say they are conflicted by what the new laws mean. Predictably, the anti-pot crowd says it will result in more people using marijuana – a statement that has absolutely no basis in fact whatsoever. Most seem to think it’s a sensible move, including anti-pot governor Martin O’Malley.
“As a young prosecutor, I once thought that decriminalizing the possession of marijuana might undermine the public will necessary to combat drug violence and improve public safety,” O’Malley said in a release earlier this year. “I now think that decriminalizing possession of marijuana is an acknowledgment of the low priority that our courts, our prosecutors, our police, and the vast majority of citizens already attach to this transgression of public order and public health.”
The move made Maryland the 18th state to decriminalize possession of herb on some level. Currently, possession of up to ten grams of herb is punishable by three months in jail and $500 in fines.