The dome of the Maryland Capitol Building in Annapolis, Maryland.

Doug Kerr

Two bills have been introduced by Democratic Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr. in Maryland that would separately decriminalize cannabis possession and legalize adult use in the state, while setting up a taxed and regulated regime, according to a report from the Washington Times. Advocates say that proposing two bills instead of one would allow different committees to dive deeper into the technicalities of a recreational market.

“This way brings the bills before more legislators and gets them comfortable with both bills,” Kaitlyn Boecker, of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in the report.

One proposal, SB.927 which would legalize possession and set up the base of the program allowing adults 21-and-older to purchase cannabis from registered dispensaries, while SB.928, which relies on the passage of SB.927, would set up the tax structure, providing for excise taxes of $30 per ounce for cultivators and a 9 percent sales tax at the point-of-sale.

Madaleno suggests that the program would cost about $2 million to implement but could garner nearly $50 million in revenues, which would be used for schools, substance abuse treatment programs, workforce development, and impaired driving programs after the program’s costs are covered. The decriminalization proposal includes language that would allow cannabis clubs to operate in the state.

Both proposals have been moved to the Judicial Proceedings Committee, which is expected to hear the decriminalization bill on Mar. 2. The tax bill was also sent to the Budget and Taxation Committee, who are scheduled to hear the measure on Mar. 8.

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