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Maryland Marijuana Law

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Penalty Details

Possession for Personal Use

In Maryland marijuana is listed as a Schedule I controlled hallucinogenic substances. Simple possession (possession without the intent to distribute) of less than 10 grams in Maryland is a civil offense (fine not exceeding $100 for first-time offenders, $250 for second-time offenders, and $500 for third or subsequent offenders).

Possession of between 10 grams and less than 50 pounds of marijuana is a misdemeanor with a punishment of up to one year imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $1,000.

Possession of 50 pounds or more of marijuana carriers a punishment of a minimum of 5 years imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $100,000.

Offenses involving the use of marijuana in public carries a civil fine of up to $500.

See

  • MD CODE ANN. §5-402(d)(vii) 
  • MD CODE ANN. §5-601
  • MD CODE ANN. §5-612 

Possession With Intent to Distribute

Possession with intent to distribute less than 50 pounds of marijuana in Maryland is a felony with a punishment of up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $15,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-607(a) 

If a person is found to be in possession of 50 pounds or more of marijuana (acts in proceeding 90 days can be aggregated), then the punishment for this felony is imprisonment of not less than 5 years and a fine not exceeding $100,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §§5-612 (a)-(c). 

Possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute in a school vehicle, or in, on, or within 1,000 feet of real property owned by or leased to an elementary school or secondary school, is a felony and is punishable by, for a first violation, imprisonment not exceeding 20 years and a fine not exceeding $20,000, and for each subsequent violation, imprisonment not less than 5 years and not exceeding 40 years and a fine not exceeding $40,000. These penalties are in addition to any other conviction.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. § 5-627

If an offender has previously been convicted of possession with intent to distribute, then there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-607(b)(1) 

If an individual is found to be a “drug kingpin” (an organizer, supervisor, financier, or manager who acts as a co-conspirator in a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, dispense, transport in, or bring into the State a controlled dangerous substance), and dealt with 50 pounds or more of marijuana, then they are guilty of a felony and subject to imprisonment for not less than 20 years and not exceeding 40 years without the possibility of parole and a fine not exceeding $1,000,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-613. (Does not merge. §5-613(d).) 

If an adult uses or solicits a minor in a conspiracy to distribute, deliver or manufacture marijuana, then the adult is guilty of a felony and is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 20 years or a fine not exceeding $20,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-628 

Cultivation

Cultivation in Maryland is punished as either simple possession or as possession with intent to deliver, depending on the amount of marijuana being produced and other factors that may lead to the conclusion that the marijuana was being grown for reasons other than strict personal use. See the Possession for Personal Use” and “Possession with Intent to Distribute” sections for further penalty details.

Trafficking

If a person brings 45 kilograms or more of marijuana into the state of Maryland, then they are guilty of a felony and are subject to imprisonment not exceeding 25 years and a fine not exceeding $50,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-614(a) 

If a person brings less than 45 kilograms of marijuana into the state, but more than 5 kilograms, then said person is guilty of a felony and subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-614(b) 

If a person is in possession of a firearm at the time they are arrested for trafficking marijuana into MD, then said person is guilty of a felony and may be punished with, for a first violation, imprisonment for not less than 5 years and not exceeding 20 years, and for each subsequent violation, imprisonment for not less than 10 years and not exceeding 20 years.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-621(c)(1) 

Hash & Concentrates

In Maryland, hashish and marijuana concentrates are punished at the same level as plant-form marijuana, and are Schedule I controlled hallucinogenic substances. See the Maryland marijuana penalty section for further details.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-101(q) 
  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-402(d)(vii) 
  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-402(d)(xii) 
  • Hignut v. State, 17 Md.App. 399 (Md. Spec. App. 1973) 
  • Ertwine v. State, 18 Md.App. 619, 308 A.2d 414 (Md. Spec. App. 1973) 

Paraphernalia

Under MD law, paraphernalia includes all equipment and materials used in the use, manufacture, or distribution of marijuana. This includes all agricultural materials used in the growing process, including electronic equipment and typical gardening supplies, such as lights, fertilizer, and top soil. §5-101 also includes under its definition items such as scales, plastic bags, and others used in the distribution process. Hash bubble sacks are paraphernalia. These items are joined by the typical forms of paraphernalia involved in the ingestion of marijuana, including pipes, bongs, and roach clips. Rolling papers and blunt wraps are not included under the statutory definition.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-101

Possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia is a civil violation.

If a person is convicted of selling drug paraphernalia, then they are guilty of a misdemeanor and can be sentenced, for a first violation, a fine not exceeding $500, and for each subsequent violation, imprisonment not exceeding 2 years and a fine not exceeding $2,000.

See

  • §5-619 (d)(2) 

If a person is caught in possession of controlled paraphernalia and marijuana, then they are guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to imprisonment not exceeding 1 year and a fine not exceeding $1,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. § 5-620(d)(2) 

If an adult delivers drug paraphernalia to a minor who is at least 3 years younger than the person, the person is guilty of a separate misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 8 years and a fine not exceeding $15,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. § 5-619(d)(4). 

Advertising the distribution of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor and can be punished, for a first violation, with a fine not exceeding $500, and for each subsequent violation, with imprisonment for not exceeding 2 years and a fine not exceeding $2,000.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-619(e)(1) 

Mandatory Minimum

Maryland has a mandatory minimum sentences for:

  1. Repeat offenders who have been convicted of possession to distribute on 2 or more occasions (2 years).
  2. Repeat offenders who have previously been convicted of possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 ft. of a school on 2 or more occasions (5 years).
  3. Any offender convicted of possessing 50 pounds or more of marijuana, including any acts of possession within the last 90 days (5 years).
  4. Any offender convicted of being a “drug kingpin” who dealt in more than 50 pounds of marijuana (20 years).
  5. Any offender who is in possession of a firearm at the time they are arrested for trafficking marijuana into MD (10 years)

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-607(b)(1) 
  • MD. CODE ANN. §§5-612 (a)-(c) 
  • MD. CODE ANN. § 5-627 
  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-613
  • MD. CODE ANN. §5-621(c)(1)

Miscellaneous

Medical Necessity Defense

“In a prosecution for the use or possession of marijuana, the defendant may introduce and the court shall consider as a mitigating factor any evidence of medical necessity.

(ii) Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of this subsection, if the court finds that the person used or possessed marijuana because of medical necessity, on conviction of a violation of this section, the maximum penalty that the court may impose on the person is a fine not exceeding $100.”

Even with the defense, the crime is still a misdemeanor. Additional fines/penalties are applicable if use is in public or more than one ounce is in possession at one time.

See

  • MD. CODE ANN. §§5-601(c)(3)(i)-(ii)
DECRIMINALIZATION

The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.

DRUGGED DRIVING

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold.

HEMP

This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. 

MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCE

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to “life MMS” must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective.

Maryland Drugged Driving

In Maryland, a person is guilty of DUI if he or she is (1) driving any vehicle while the driver is so far impaired by any drug that he or she cannot drive a vehicle safely, OR (2) driving any vehicle while the person is impaired by any controlled dangerous substance, if the person is not entitled to use the controlled dangerous substance under the laws of this State. Md. Code. Ann. Transp. §§ 21-902 (c)(1),(d)(1) (West 2010).

Affirmative Defense

It is an affirmative defense to the second type of DUI if the driver is or has been entitled to use the controlled substance under the laws of Id. § 21-902 (d)(1).

NOTE: This affirmative defense does not currently apply in Maryland. Maryland courts have ruled that Maryland’s medical cannabis laws DO NOT legally entitle any person to use cannabis. Maryland’s Compassionate Use Act still subjects patients to criminal penalties, but allows that medical necessity be considered in order to mitigate penalties associated with possession and use. Jefferson v. State, 883 A.2d 251 (2005).

Furthermore, since The Compassionate Use Act is only explicitly applicable with regard to possession and use, it is unlikely that the court will find medical use a mitigating factor in a DUI proceeding.

Implied Consent

  • Any person who drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle in Maryland is deemed to have consented to take a test if the person should be detained on suspicion of driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol or while so far impaired by any drug that the person could not drive a vehicle safely, or while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance. Md. Code. Ann. Transp. § 16-205.1(a)(2) (West 2010).
  • Unless the incident leads to an accident that results in death or a life threatening injury to another person, the driver may not be compelled to take a test. Id. § 16-205.1.
  • Refusal to submit to chemical test(s) will result in the suspension of the person’s driver’s license for up to 45 days. Id. § 16-205.1.
  • Whether driver has a right to communicate with counsel before taking a chemical test depends on the individual facts of each case. Person generally has right to counsel, but the request may not unreasonably delay the administration of the test. Sites v. State,481 A.2d 192(1984); Motor Vehicle Admin. v. Atterbeary, 796 A.2d 75 (2002).

Penalties

  • First offense (w/i last 5 years) misdemeanor – jail sentence of 2 months up to 1-year (possible fine in lieu of incarceration); fine of $500 up to a $1,000; license suspension period of up to 45 days; offender is required to successfully complete a drug/alcohol education program; up to 2-years in jail and a $2,000 fine for a DUI conviction if there is a minor in vehicle. State. Md. Code. Ann. Transp. § 27-101(k)(1)(i) (West 2010); Id. §§ 27-101(k)(2)-(3).
  • Second offense (w/i 5 years) misdemeanor – up to 2-years in jail (possible fine in lieu of jail); mandatory minimum of 48-hours; up to a $2,000 fine; license suspension up to 90 days; offender is required to successfully complete drug/alcohol education program; conviction with minor in vehicle up to 3-years in jail and a $3,000 fine. Id. § 27-101(k)(1)(ii); Id. §§ 27-101(k)(2)-(3).
  • Third offense (w/i 5 years)  up to 3-years in jail (possible fine in lieu jail); up to a $3,000 fine; license suspension of up to 18 months; offender is required to successfully complete drug/alcohol education program; if there was a minor in the vehicle at the time up to 4-years in jail, and up to a $4,000 fine. Id.§ 27-101(k)(1)(iii); Id. §§ 27-101(k)(2)-(3).

Sobriety Checkpoints

In Maryland, sobriety checkpoints are upheld under state and federal Constitution.

  • No statutory or constitutional violations occur when the inhabitants of a vehicle are stopped at sobriety checkpoint. In view of State’s compelling interest in controlling drunk driving and the fact that checkpoints were operated under thoughtfully crafted regulations which severely restricted discretion of officers in the field and took steps to assure that motorists would not be singled out without cause. Little v. State, 479 A.2d 903 (Md. 1984).

Case Law

Cook v. State, 490 A.2d 1311, (1985) — Evidence from which jury could fairly conclude that defendant was incapable of driving safely due to influence of drugs is sufficient to convict for the purposes of DUI.

Brooks v. State, 395 A.2d 1224 (1979) — In determining impairment, chemical evidence is probative, but unnecessary for conviction. Observation of defendant’s behavior may be sufficient.

Jefferson v. State, 883 A.2d 251 (Md.App.,2005) – Maryland’s Compassionate Use Act, which allows sentencing court to consider medical necessity evidence in mitigation of sentence, does not affect another criminal statute classifying marijuana as Schedule I controlled substance.

Maryland Hemp Law

Year Passed: 2016
Summary: House Bill 443 permits the Department of Agriculture to authorize institutions of higher education to cultivate industrial hemp for academic research purposes. Members of the Senate voted 45 to zero in favor of the bill. Also establishes a license allowing individuals to plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, sell, or buy industrial hemp in Maryland. The law took effect October 1st, 2016. 

Members of Congress have approved language (Section 7606) in the omnibus federal Farm Bill authorizing states to sponsor hemp research absent federal reclassification of the plant.

Statute: MD. CODE ANN. §14-101 (2016)

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