Legislators: Possession of 10 grams of pot not a drug crime

Maryland’s medical marijuana program has officially been revived, though it appears that patients might have to wait for more than 15 months until they can purchase the drug again in the state. Families throughout the region are rejoicing that they will no longer be charged with drug offenses for providing controversial — but often extraordinarily effective — treatments to their severely ill children. State government has been active in efforts to decriminalize the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, as well, though many are still questioning the implementation of the new laws.

One of the major concerns about the 10-gram measure involves continued search and seizure. Lawmakers must determine whether officers are permitted to continue to search a resident for more drugs if just 10 grams or less are found on the person. Attorneys may be able to provide answers for defendants who have been victimized by unfair search and seizure, but the proposed laws are still unclear on this matter. Law enforcement officers say they are worried about running afoul of the provision.

Maryland regulators say they intend to implement a program that has far stricter controls than that in California and other medical-marijuana states. Rules will be put in place to prevent recreational users from getting their hands on the drug. Those controls will not actually be approved for some time, though, and estimates show that patients could wait until late 2015 to actually receive their product.

Decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana will have positive implications for non-violent offenders who would have otherwise faced drug possession charges. The law has not yet been implemented, however, so defendants cannot yet enjoy its provisions. Criminal defense attorneys may be able to answer questions about the new law, allowing defendants to learn more about their legal rights and options.

Source:  The Baltimore Sun, “Md.’s marijuana laws leave unanswered questions” Mark Puente & Michael Dresser, Apr. 14, 2014