Possession of personal quantities of cannabis will no longer be a crime in Maryland under a law passed April 7 and sent to Gov. Martin O'Malley. Adults caught with less than 10 grams will get a citation and be fined, but will no longer face jail. O'Malley has pledged to sign the law -- a reversal from views he held as Baltimore's tough-on-crime mayor. "As a young prosecutor, I once thought that decriminalizing the possession of marijuana might undermine the public will necessary to combat drug violence and improve public safety," O'Malley said in a statement. "I now think that decriminalizing possession of marijuana is an acknowledgment of the low priority that our courts, our prosecutors, our police, and the vast majority of citizens already attach to this transgression of public order and public health. Such an acknowledgment in law might even lead to a greater focus on far more serious threats to public safety and the lives of our citizens.”
The legislature also passed a measure to broaden the state's medical marijuana program. Under the 2013 medical marijuana law, responsibility for the program was given to academic medical centers, but none have been willing to participate. Under the new measure, the state Medical Marijuana Commission will certify physicians to recommend that their patients receive cannabis. Patients will then get the herb from state-licensed dispensaries.