As of Saturday, the use of recreational cannabis became legal in Maryland, joining more than 20 other states in the country that have decriminalised the substance.
The new law, which follows a successful referendum last November, allows adults aged 21 and older to purchase, possess, use, and cultivate limited quantities of cannabis.
Governor Wes Moore had signed the Cannabis Reform Act into law back in May, introducing a set of regulations surrounding cannabis usage.
Adults aged 21 and over can now cultivate up to two cannabis plants for personal use and possess up to 57g of cannabis.
Any quantity exceeding 57g but less than 94.5g could invite civil fines, while possession of more than 94.5g might lead to criminal charges on grounds of intent to distribute.
Despite the legal shift, restrictions still apply to the public use of cannabis.
According to Dawn Berkowitz, deputy director of the Maryland Cannabis Administration, usage is confined to private residences, with public smoking remaining prohibited.
Additionally, the law stipulates that the purchase limit equals the possession limit for personal use, which includes up to 57g of cannabis flower, 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, or up to 750 mg of THC.
In a move aimed at reversing previous cannabis related convictions, the new law automatically expunges past offences that are now legal under the Cannabis Reform Act.
Those currently serving sentences for these offences are eligible for re-sentencing, and those convicted of possession with an intent to distribute can appeal for expungement three years post-sentence completion.
On the commercial side, the state will permit companies to serve medical cannabis to customers.
The Maryland Cannabis Administration has approved nearly 100 dispensaries to convert to dual licensees, allowing them to cater to both medical patients and adult consumers.
Additionally, the Administration recently approved 42 cultivators and manufacturers.
Under this newly implemented system, a 9% tax will be levied on cannabis sales, mirroring the tax rate imposed on alcohol.
The revenue generated from this burgeoning market will contribute to the state’s economy, with industry leaders optimistic about its potential.
However, it is important to note that while cannabis is legal at the state level in Maryland, it remains illegal federally and is prohibited in government buildings and other federal properties.