While the use of marijuana is not currently legal in Maryland, the state officially decriminalized the act in 2014, making a large stride in the right direction. Many individuals confuse decriminalization and legalization, often using the two terms synonymously when in actuality this is not correct. The decriminalization of marijuana in Maryland means that while the act is still considered illegal, criminal penalties are no longer enforced by the state. The state currently views the use of marijuana as an offense punishable by a civil fine up to $500. The dispensing and selling without a permit continues to be a felony and can result in a minimum of 20 years imprisonment. While the bill to decriminalize marijuana was passed in 2014, its slow roll to action only really came into effect in August 2016.
Several attempts have been set into action in the attempt to reverse the decriminalization of marijuana in Maryland, returning the act to a criminal offense for smoking marijuana in public or in a parked car. Fortunately, Senate Judicial Proceedings Chair Bobby Zirkin refused to pass the bills, and they died in committee.
While the general use of marijuana is not legal in Maryland, it's medical use has been legalized this April 2014. House Bill 881 enabled Maryland patients to obtain legal medical cannabis from Maryland-licenses dispensaries. Patients are legally allowed to possess a "30-day supply" at any given time. Patients must have a qualifying condition that has been outlined by the department of health services and/or department of justice in order to become a receive a legal medical marijuana card.
Currently, the Maryland medical marijuana laws are in the process of changing so it is important to regularly check in with current state laws prior to purchasing medical marijuana. If you have been given a medical marijuana card it's important to ensure that any dispensaries you purchase marijuana from are also authorized by the state.