Voters in Maryland and Missouri have approved cannabis legalization. The two states become the 20th and 21st U.S. states to legalize cannabis. The implementation details of specific regulations will soon follow. However, both states seem to be planning similar legislation, with Missouri leaning more towards the generous side for possession limits. Both states will expunge criminal records.
Maryland and Missouri Vote to Legalize Cannabis
Voters in Maryland and Missouri approved a referendum this Tuesday to legalize cannabis in the state. The two states become the 20th and 21st U.S. states to legalize cannabis.
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Implementation Details to Follow in Maryland and Missouri
Now that voters have approved the measures, all that remains is the implementation of basic regulations in Maryland and Missouri.
For Maryland, the purchase and possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis (42 grams) will be legal for adults. The legislation will also remove criminal penalties for possessing up to 2.5 ounces. In addition, adults 21 and older will be allowed to grow up to two plants for personal use and to offer cannabis to friends and family without compensation.
Previous state-level convictions in Maryland for conduct made legal by the proposed law will be automatically expunged, and individuals currently in prison for such offenses will be eligible for resentencing.
The legislation provides that individuals convicted of possession with intent to distribute cannabis may petition Maryland courts for expungement three years after serving their sentence.
In Missouri, adults 21 and older will be able to purchase and possess up to three ounces of cannabis.
They will also be able to grow up to six flowering cannabis plants, six immature plants, and six clones if they obtain a registration card.
The initiative will impose a 6 percent tax on recreational cannabis sales in Missouri. The state will use the revenue to facilitate the automatic expungement of people with certain non-violent cannabis offenses on their criminal records.
The remainder of the revenue will go toward veterans’ health care, addiction treatment, and the state’s public defense system.
Missouri Regulators will be required to issue at least 144 microbusiness licenses through a lottery system, with priority given to low-income applicants and those who have been disproportionately impacted by drug criminalization.
Existing medical cannabis dispensaries will also be the first to be able to begin serving adult consumers with a dual license.
Arkansas and North and South Dakota Rejected Legalization
Unlike Maryland and Missouri, Arkansas and North and South Dakota voters were more conservative, rejecting legalization initiatives.
However, five Texas cities have approved proposals to decriminalize cannabis.
(Featured image by Element5 Digital via Unsplash)
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