Many Marylanders know that drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle can lead to jail time and DUI charges, but what do you know about drugged driving’s consequences? Although Maryland has more lenient drug laws than some states, that leniency does not apply as far as driving goes.
While some people believe that casual use of soft drugs like cannabis might not lead to police charges in 2021, driving under the influence is different from mere possession or use. When it comes to operating a vehicle, there are other factors like driver safety to consider. Understanding how the law applies can help you avoid unwanted legal trouble.
Possession of some soft drugs is decriminalized
In 2014, the state of Maryland decriminalized the limited possession of cannabis. Under current legislation, possessing up to 10 grams is a civil offense. For 10 grams to less than 50 pounds, the charge is a misdemeanor. Both situations avoid felony charges. In addition, the state has implemented a medicinal cannabis program that residents voted into law in 2014 as well.
Decriminalization does not apply to just any setting
Despite Maryland’s leniency toward possession of soft drugs like cannabis, however, possession and consumption while driving are not the same things. Given the language of current laws, there is significant room to give law enforcement discretion when deciding on DUI charges, even for registered patients under Maryland’s Compassionate Use Act.
If you live in Maryland and you want to smoke a joint on your property, your chances of running into trouble with police are slim. With that said, it is best to sober up before driving to the store to pick up some snacks.