Maryland’s residents voted to approve the legalization of recreational marijuana. As a result, effective July 1, 2023, individuals at least 21 years of age may lawfully possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana, as reported by U.S. News & World Report. Individuals growing marijuana may have two plants in their homes, as noted by the Baltimore Sun, but the plants must stay out of the public’s view. Maryland residents may possess up to 1.5 ounces of home-grown buds.
Up until July 1, 2023, however, residents may still face criminal charges for cannabis possession. If law enforcement finds you with marijuana in an amount greater than 2.5 ounces, you could face fines and possible incarceration.
Changes in chargeable offenses, resentencing and expungement
As part of the decriminalization process, Maryland residents found with no greater than 2.5 ounces of marijuana between January 1 and June 30, 2023, may face only a civil offense charge and made to pay a fine. An amount greater than 2.5 ounces, however, could result in a misdemeanor criminal charge and possible time spent in jail.
In cases of previous cannabis convictions, the new law could allow you or a loved one to apply for resentencing or expungement. Applications sent to the court for resentencing must first receive the required approvals. Some resentencing actions may release incarcerated individuals or grant them a revised sentence of time already served.
Previous conviction expungement
Individuals with prior criminal convictions for possession of cannabis may petition the court for an expungement. Removal of a criminal record from public view could make a major difference in employment and housing opportunities. Even though Maryland’s revised marijuana laws may offer new expungement possibilities, the approval process may require detailed legal procedures, such as in cases involving larger amounts of cannabis.