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By Justin Fenton and The Baltimore Sun | September 30, 2014
Starting Wednesday, you can no longer be arrested in Maryland for possessing a small amount of marijuana. But how the rest of that interaction with police plays out might depend on what jurisdiction you're in. Lawmakers did not legalize marijuana, but made possession of less than 10 grams an offense that results in a $100 ticket for a first infraction. That means that thousands of cases each year will no longer lead to a criminal record. In Montgomery County, you can avoid arrest even for an amount far exceeding 10 grams, if police deem your stash to be for personal use only.
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NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and The Baltimore Sun | October 11, 2014
With Maryland's proposed licensing fees for growing and selling medical marijuana among the highest in the nation, some advocates warn that the steep costs could drive off applicants, crippling the nascent program and limiting access to treatment for tens of thousands of state residents. Prospective medical marijuana growers would have to pay $125,000 a year for a two-year license, while dispensaries would have to pay $40,000 a year, according to the recommendations of a state commission.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Colin Campbell, The Baltimore Sun | March 20, 2014
The owner of Baltimore's Sonar nightclub was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for his role in supervising a drug dealing and money laundering operation, federal prosecutors announced. Daniel Gerard McIntosh, 38, of Sparks, was part of a large drug operation busted by the Drug Enforcement Agency when it seized more than 80 pounds of marijuana and $30,000 in cash from the group's headquarters in the 3500 block of Hickory Ave., in Hampden. The agency also found 30 cell phones, documentation of a plane purchased for $450,000, books showing more than $14.5 million in marijuana sales, money counters and fake IDs in the sting.
NEWS
October 3, 2014
Maryland's legislature decided to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for a few reasons. Lawmakers concluded that police and prosecutors should not be focusing their attention on what is increasingly viewed by the public as a relatively harmless vice; they expressed concern that criminal convictions related to marijuana possession were harming the employment and educational prospects of thousands of Marylanders; and they were alarmed...
NEWS
February 4, 2010
I do not understand why The Sun is not featuring any of the experts (many available right here in Baltimore) who have worked in the field of addictions and have valuable experience and information about the negative consequences of legalizing marijuana, which is a well-known "gateway" drug and ripe for black market enterprise despite suggested constraints ("Md. fights through haze over medical marijuana," Jan. 31). There are many serious drawbacks to legalization. I feel the following questions are valid and need to be explored before the legislature approves such a bill.
NEWS
Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | January 21, 2014
As lawmakers in Annapolis continue to consider whether to loosen Maryland's marijuana laws, a bipartisan pair of senators plans to introduce a proposal Wednesday to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug. “We're not trying to encourage people to smoke pot,” said Baltimore County Democrat Sen. Bobby Zirkin, who is leading the effort. “I don't think that having a joint should be a jail-able offense. I don't think that's the definition of a crime.” Under the bill, it would not longer be a crime to have less than 10 grams of marijuana - a proposal that cleared the Senate last year but didn't get a vote in the House of Delegates.  Instead, the proposal calls for making marijuana a civil offense that could result in a ticket for adults and drug treatment for minors.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser | November 22, 2013
(NOTICE: This article replaces an earlier version that incorrectly characterized Del. Ron George's criticism of Del. Heather Mizeur's plan based on the reporter's misunderstanding of the proposal.) Republican Ron George has became the first gubernatorial candidate to target fellow hopeful Heather R. Mizeur's proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana -- focusing on a provision of Mizeur's proposal to let adults legally grow their own. George, a  state delegate from Anne Arundel County, released a statement Thursday in which he denounced Mizeur's plan to tax legal marijuana sales and use the proceeds for early childhood education was first reported in The Baltimore Sun Tuesday.
NEWS
Baltimore Crime Beat | February 22, 2012
Baltimore City State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein was among the prosecutors urging lawmakers to allow prosecutors to seek shorter sentences in some marijuana possession cases , WBAL Radio reported this week. Bernstein was in Annapolis Tuesday to testify before the House Judiciary Committee which was considering a bill to allow prosecutors to pursue a maximum 90-day jail term for those convicted of possessing less than 14-grams of marijuana.  Current law calls for a maximum one-year jail term.
NEWS
January 6, 2012
Your recent editorial on medical marijuana was yet another attempt to frame the legalization debate in terms of public safety, which is nothing more than a convenient smoke screen ("Go slow on marijuana," Jan. 3). If our leaders cared one wit about public safety as it concerns drugs, most of the prescription medicines advertised directly to consumers would be taken off the shelves. Marijuana has been studied to death already, not for its medical benefits but for its potential harm.
NEWS
June 27, 2013
As a 33-year Maryland law enforcement veteran, I agree with 95 percent of what Baltimore City State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein says about the difficulty of decriminalizing marijuana ("Perils of decriminalization," June 21). A move to decriminalize marijuana would leave behind the deadly drug-dealing marketplace of Baltimore's street corners. Most people do not realize that alcohol prohibition was the decriminalization of alcohol. It was only illegal to manufacture, transport and sell, not to possess or consume.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton and The Baltimore Sun | September 30, 2014
Starting Wednesday, you can no longer be arrested in Maryland for possessing a small amount of marijuana. But how the rest of that interaction with police plays out might depend on what jurisdiction you're in. Lawmakers did not legalize marijuana, but made possession of less than 10 grams an offense that results in a $100 ticket for a first infraction. That means that thousands of cases each year will no longer lead to a criminal record. In Montgomery County, you can avoid arrest even for an amount far exceeding 10 grams, if police deem your stash to be for personal use only.
NEWS
By Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | September 23, 2014
Running a medical marijuana operation could cost each grower more than $125,000 a year in fees, a sum so steep some officials believe it may shut out small businesses. Maryland's medical marijuana commission is tentatively proposing that fee for each of the 15 potential growers envisioned for the state's new program. The panel also is recommending a $40,000-a-year charge for dispensaries, according to a draft plan expected to be released for public comment Wednesday. Those license fees - atop as much as $6,000 in application fees - would finance the state's nascent medical marijuana program.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson and The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2014
Baltimore County police have charged a civilian employee who worked in the department's Criminal Investigation Division after detectives found marijuana in her home Wednesday. Investigators searched the home of Susan M. Burke on Glenback Avenue in Pikesville Wednesday morning, where they found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the house, police wrote in charging documents. Among the items found were grinders, scales, smoking pipes and a mason jar with plant residue, among other items for marijuana use. Police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said Burke will be reassigned to another county government position.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | September 9, 2014
A state panel on Tuesday hashed out more of the nitty-gritty details to create a medical marijuana industry from scratch, but some key points remained unresolved as the commission nears a deadline next week. Maryland's Medical Marijuana Commission plans to release Wednesday a second draft of regulations to create the program. Those 81-pages of rules have been reshaped after the first draft came under fire at a public hearing last month. Among the many changes in the new draft: removing a provision that would have effectively outlawed a grower or dispensary operation within Baltimore city limits.
NEWS
September 4, 2014
As members of the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission's policy subcommittee, we are honored to be able to serve our fellow citizens to develop a program that makes medical marijuana available to those Marylanders who have not found relief from conventional treatments and may benefit from its many medicinal uses in a safe, affordable manner ( "Proposed medical marijuana rules under fire," Aug. 27). As we have been writing the regulations to implement this new law, we are very mindful to balance the concerns of the General Assembly to assure ease of access for the patient and provide necessary security safeguards.
NEWS
September 1, 2014
The lack of coherent rules for access to medical marijuana in Maryland is beyond absurd ( "Pot as medicine," Aug. 27). Medical marijuana has already been successfully implemented in many states across the country. Is Maryland so different that we can't adopt the same policies in use by other states? While there have been abuses of the system, they are relatively rare and non-threatening. Extending the logic applied by the Maryland commission on medical marijuana, we should ban swimming pools - responsible for hundreds of injuries and deaths every year - reduce the highway speed limit to 25 mph and make countless other changes to state law. Obviously, that's not the answer.
NEWS
By Tony Newman | December 27, 2011
Should juries vote "not guilty" on low-level marijuana charges to send a message about our country's insane marijuana arrest policy? Jury nullification is a constitutional doctrine that allows juries to acquit defendants who are technically guilty but who don't deserve punishment. As Paul Butler wrote recently in The New York Times, juries have the right and power to use jury nullification to protest unjust laws. Mr. Butler points out that nullification was credited with ending our country's disastrous alcohol Prohibition as more and more jurors refused to send their neighbors to jail for a law they didn't believe in. He says we need to do the same with today's marijuana arrests.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | March 21, 2012
The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would cut the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in a way that curtails the right to an initial jury trial on the charges. By a 16-4 vote, members said, the panel gave its OK to Del. Luke Clippingers's bill setting the maximum penalty for possesssion of 7 grams or less of marijuana at 90 days and a $500 fine. Previously those convicted of the charge could have been given up to a year in jail. With a potential penalty of more than 90 days, defendants were entitled to a jury trial in Circuit Court  -- an option may have taken.  Under the legislation, defendants would initially be  tried before a District Court judge but would retain the right to appeal to the Circuit Court.
NEWS
September 1, 2014
I agree that Maryland's recently proposed rules regarding access to medical marijuana are overly restrictive ( "Pot as medicine," Aug. 27). Maryland policymakers are missing an opportunity to save lives. Baltimore, for example, has the highest rate of heroin addiction in the country. New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that states with legal access to medical marijuana have a 25 percent lower rate of opioid overdose deaths than states that prohibit marijuana.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | August 27, 2014
Critics took aim Tuesday at proposed regulations to create a medical marijuana industry in Maryland as a state commission tasked with writing the rules rushed toward a deadline it might not meet. Physicians, patients, advocates and potential growers said the commission did not collect enough public input before drafting the rules - which they said appear to forbid a medical marijuana dispensary anywhere within Baltimore city limits. Final regulations are due in less than three weeks, but the public hearing in Annapolis Tuesday was the commission's first.
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