Maryland lawmakers are trying to settle their cannabis legalization differences
The leader of the Maryland Senate is looking to pass a bill that seeks to end cannabis prohibition before November arrives, and by moving all the necessary chips, it is possible that this could become a reality. During an interview, Senate President Bill Ferguson was asked what he thought about House Speaker Adrienne Jones’ proposed vote. He indicated that the legislature should not really wait for the voters to decide on the issue, but that they should start addressing reform promptly to avoid further delay in the process.
Ferguson had previously sponsored a legalization bill and shows he has every interest in seeing this come to fruition someday. “An overwhelming majority of people believe our marijuana policy has been fatally flawed,” he said. “This is an issue I thought we needed [to reform for a long time. I think it’s overdue.” He added, “What I hope for this year is that we can come up with a real framework. There are very real concerns, whether it’s around drugged driving or access to children. All of those things are absolutely essential and, therefore, it is the responsibility of the General Assembly to come up with a framework that will address all of those issues and be thoughtful in the way we address adult use.”
However, so far, the legislature has not decided to take any kind of action, and because of this and the need for criminal justice disparities in cannabis criminalization, led Jones to say that it “leads me to believe that voters should have a say in the future of legalization.”
To delve deeper into issues related to the legalization and regulation of this plant, Jones has also appointed a ten-member working group. Still, the Senate leader does not appear to be as hopeful about the referendum proposal and indicated that he would prefer that the legislature address the issue to ensure that it is properly and effectively implemented.