Issue Paper 2022 - Cannabis 

While many states across the country have kept ahead of the curve when it comes to legalization of marjiuana and the justice that it brings to the communities that face systemic punishments for its crimes, Maryland has not been able to keep up to date with ever growing public support and racial equality. 

Supporting the total decriminalization and legalization of cannabis is one action LWVMD plans on taking on under its own 2012 position and newly enacted DEI policy. 

LWVMD’s position states support for:

  1. Legalization of marijuana for any use, including medicinal use, subject to restrictions on production and distribution.
  2. No agreement was reached as to the legalization of other non-prescription illegal drugs classified as controlled substances such as heroin or cocaine for medicinal or any use.

This comes from the study of Drug and Controlled Substances Abuse, Policies and Laws in Maryland that was adopted at the 2009 LWVMD Convention and readopted at the LWVMD 2011 Convention. The study was undertaken to afford LWVMD positions that could be used to address proposed legislation on drug abuse and controlled substances, especially marijuana.

LWVMD has also joined the Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition. This coalition stands behind the decriminalization, legalization, and increased economic benefits of cannabis in the state of Maryland. 

HB1 was pre-filed in the House which would allow a referendum to be added to the state constitution that would allow for “...THE USE, DISTRIBUTION, POSSESSION, REGULATION, AND TAXATION OF CANNABIS WITHIN THE STATE.”

Putting the referendum on the ballot would allow the voters to decide if they support the legalization of cannabis for a multitude of uses. However, it would not be enacted until July 2023 - eight months after the election. This would allow legislators time to enact laws governing the parameters for production and distribution which the League supports. LWVMD currently has no position of preference for referendum or straight vote through MGA. 

If you are interested in joining the LWVMD Team working on Cannabis legislation, or other DEI legislation initiatives, please reach out to Nikki Tyree at [email protected]

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