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Maryland House Speaker Supports Putting Cannabis Legalization to Public Vote Next Year

The House of Delegates will introduce the legislation to legalize recreational cannabis early next year, putting it on the 2022 general election ballot.

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July 19, 2021

Maryland House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore) announced July 15 that voters will decide whether recreational cannabis should be legal in the state next year.

According to DCist, Jones said the House of Delegates would introduce the legislation to legalize recreational cannabis early next year, putting it on the 2022 general election ballot. 

Additionally, Jones also announced that she is forming a 10-person group to establish legal adult-use cannabis sales regulations if voters pass the measure, DCist reported. The 10-person group will also be responsible for the licensing and overseeing expungement for previous cannabis convictions, equitable ownership in cannabis businesses, and cannabis sales and production.

Earlier this year, Maryland lawmakers failed to pass an adult-use legalization bill, but adding the measure to the 2022 general election would bypass the state legislature and allow the law to go into effect through just the public’s vote, DCist reported.

While Jones expressed concerns about cannabis use amongst young children and adults, she says she recognizes that the criminalization of Black people for cannabis convictions is a significant issue that needs attention, according to DCist. 

“The disparate criminal justice impact leads me to believe that the voters should have a say in the future of legalization,” Jones said. “The House will pass legislation early next year to put this question before the voters, but we need to start looking at changes needed to State law now.”