ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate is set to vote Friday on whether to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Sen. Robert Zirkin's bill would replace criminal penalties for pot possession with a $100 civil fine. Juveniles caught with the drug would also have to appear before a judge and possibly undergo treatment. Under an amendment from Sen. Christopher Shank, the same penalty would also apply to adults caught a third time.
Criminal penalties would remain intact for anyone carrying more than about one-third of an ounce of pot.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Sen. Christopher Shank wants to make sure judges can still order treatment for persistent marijuana users if Maryland decriminalizes the drug.
Shank, R-Washington, introduced an amendment Tuesday to a marijuana decriminalization bill currently under consideration in the Senate. Under Shank's amendment, anyone caught with marijuana three or more times would be required to appear in court, and a judge would be allowed to order treatment. But there still would not be criminal charges for possessing 10 grams or less.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Police and prosecutor objections to this year's marijuana decriminalization bills apparently aren't getting far with the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee.
In the bills' first hearing on Tuesday, committee members sparred with police chiefs who want to keep the drug illegal. Sen. Christopher Shank advised one chief to find a compromise - to decide what features a bill would need to avoid hindering law enforcement - because the drug war isn't working.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Two bills that would decriminalize marijuana will get their first hearing Tuesday in a Senate committee.
A bill filed by Sen. Robert Zirkin would make it a civil offense to possess less than 10 grams worth of marijuana, punishable by a $100 fine but no longer attached to any criminal charge. The other bill, filed by Sen. Jamie Raskin, would make marijuana possession legal for people 21 or older.
Also this week, CASA de Maryland and the NAACP will have a rally concerning immigrant and civil rights issues.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown says Colorado and Washington state should be applauded for legalizing marijuana, but he wants to learn more about what happens in those states before supporting legalization in Maryland.
Brown, who is running for governor, talked about a variety of marijuana measures on Friday during a meeting with Baltimore lawmakers.
With the opening of the General Assembly in Annapolis this week, expect the issue of marijuana to make a fuss with the possibility of decriminalization as Governor Martin O'Malley expresses his opposition to such a move. The legislature's two top leaders and the Governor hashed out issues with Marc Steiner during his annual Annapolis Summit this week.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House Judiciary Committee will consider a bill that would allow Frederick County Commissioners to prohibit the possession and distribution of synthetic cannabinoids, better known synthetic marijuana. Officials say that synthetic cannabinoids are chemical substances that are not derived from the marijuana plant but mimic the effects of THC, the primary ingredient in marijuana.
The cannabinoids are typically sprayed onto plant material and marketed under names such as "Spice" or "K2."