Maryland Legalization Referendum Bill Expected Next Month

Lawmakers in Maryland are set to consider legislation that would put a referendum to legalize adult-use cannabis before voters during the 2022 election.

Full story after the jump.

A bill to place a cannabis legalization referendum on 2022 ballots in Maryland is set to be introduced when the state General Assembly convenes next month, WTOP News reports. The proposal was authored by Democrat Del. Luke Clipper, who is the chairman of the House Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Workgroup, which was formed last summer to study the issue.

If approved by lawmakers, the question put to voters would read:

“Do you favor legalization of adult-use cannabis in Maryland?”

If the question is successful, the state legislature would add an amendment to the state constitution and pass a law allowing adults 21-and-older to use and possess cannabis, with the law expected to take effect as early as July 2023, the report says.

The bill would require approval from three-fifths of members from both chambers of the state legislature and lawmakers would still have to create rules for the cannabis industry.

Maryland House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D) has previously expressed her support for the referendum and announced a plan to create a workgroup to lay the framework if the question is approved by voters.

Senate President Bill Ferguson (D) has indicated that the chamber would also move forward with cannabis legalization legislation.

A Goucher College poll released last March found two-thirds of Marylanders support legalization, including 77% of Democrats, 50% of Republicans, and 60% of independents. Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, said that the poll marked the first time Republican support for cannabis legalization in the state topped 50%.

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