The news that recreational marijuana is now legal in California may lead some people to think getting caught with marijuana in Maryland can’t be so bad.
After all, didn’t Governor O'Malley signed a law decriminalizing the possession of 10 grams or less, in 2014? That action made possessing small amounts into a simple civil infraction, like running a red light.
If you are under 21, and you were caught with less than 10 grams on you, you pay a $100 fine and take a drug education class. Easy!
The truth is, possessing or using marijuana can still get you in a lot of trouble in our state.
Maryland continues to categorize marijuana as a Schedule I controlled hallucinogenic substance.
10 grams isn’t much
While the fine for first-time offenders with 10 grams or less cannot exceed $100, the price goes up for second-time offenders ($250) and subsequent offenders ($500).
Beyond the 10 gram limit, the law no longer sees you as possessing for personal use. If you have a 50-pound stash in your dorm closet, you face a felony charge with a punishment of up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine as high as $15,000.
In addition to which, your school will know, your prospective or current employer will know, and everyone you know will know that you had this scrape with the law. You will have a permanent criminal record, and it will follow you for years.
Bottom line: take marijuana charges seriously. It’s fun to get high with friends, but it’s no fun when it ruins your life.
If you are charged with any kind of drug crime, get help from an attorney who knows marijuana law, and has your future and your best interests at heart.