The attitudes towards marijuana laws in Maryland are changing. But despite the move towards more liberal attitudes, there are tough laws on the books for many marijuana charges. If you are caught in possession of pot here, you will face consequences. The amount you have, your criminal history, and other facts about your case will determine just how harsh those consequences will be. Let us put you in contact with a local criminal defense lawyer, one that can provide an in depth consultation on your case and suggest how they might be able to help.
Decriminalization of Marijuana in Maryland
A marijuana decriminalization law was recently passed. It officially goes into effect on 10/1/14.
The law will allow a person to possession up to 10 grams of marijuana without facing criminal charges. It will be a civil penalty, similar to a speeding ticket. The fine will be $100. For a 2nd offense, the fine is $250, and a 3rd offense is $500.
Marijuana Possession Remains a Crime in Maryland
Until October of 2014, you can still be charged with a crime for any amount of weed. And 10 grams is not a large amount of marijuana. It is certainly possible to be charged with possession, or even distribution just for carrying a quantity that you intent for person use. It remains to be seen how aggressively Maryland police will be in looking to bust people for these offenses and bring criminal charges.
Maryland Marijuana Possession Penalties
No matter how much weed you are found with (over 10g), if it’s a straight possession charge, you will face the same penalty. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you’re found with a half-ounce or 4 pounds, as long as you aren’t charged with distribution, you will face a misdemeanor penalty of up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia
Marijuana paraphernalia doesn’t carry potential jail time. But it is something that often accompanies a possession charge. Your rolling papers or pipe can be considered paraphernalia. This misdemeanor offense carries a fine of $500. It’s not until you have multiple charges of paraphernalia that you will face jail time, up to 2 years.
Paraphernalia was NOT decriminalized in the new law. So if you’ve got a bong, a pipe or a bowl, you can still be charged with a crime. They left it this way so that police can still have cause to legally search your car if they find any of these items.
Sale, Delivery, Cultivation
Depending on the evidence in your case, the prosecutor may try to prove that you intended to sell marijuana, not simply use it. They can use things like the amount of pot, scales, baggies, and large amounts of cash to prove this “intent to sell”. Likewise, you can face harsher charges if there is evidence you did, in fact, sell or deliver the marijuana.
Generally, if you are accused of selling, delivering, or cultivating less than 50 pounds of marijuana, you will face up to 5 years in prison and $15,000. If the amount is more than 50 pounds, you will serve a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years and possibly several more.
Ref: Maryland §5-601
Regardless of the charge, a marijuana charge can change the course of your life. An experienced defense lawyer may be able to help.
From questioning the search to the way the drugs were processed after the fact, your attorney will look at every angle to ensure your rights were protected at every stage of the game.