MARYLAND: The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) released a voter guide Monday that grades Maryland gubernatorial candidates strictly on their positions and statements about cannabis policy. The report contains letter grades for each person running in Maryland’s Democratic Primary for governor in June and is based on answers to a questionnaire MPP sent to candidates, bill sponsorship, and their public statements regarding cannabis. The full report can be viewed here.
“There are real differences among the Democratic candidates when it comes to marijuana policy, from making a plan for legalizing marijuana a significant part of their campaign platform to declining to declare support for legalization at all,” said Kate Bell, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “In gubernatorial and other races across the nation, candidates are increasingly realizing that regulating marijuana is a winning issue. We hope that this guide will help inform the voters as they make their choice here in the June 26 democratic primary or in the general election.”
Sixty-four percent of likely Maryland voters support making cannabis legal for adults, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland Poll conducted in September 2016.
In February, state lawmakers introduced bills to regulate cannabis for adults. If approved by 60% of both chambers of the Maryland Legislature, the bill would place a constitutional amendment on the November 2018 ballot that would make possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis legal for adults 21 years of age and older and require the state to establish regulations and taxation for a legal cannabis market, as well as to ensure diversity in the cannabis industry. The bill to refer the issue to the voters could not be vetoed by the governor.
Nine states and the District of Columbia have made cannabis possession legal for adults, and eight of those states regulate and tax cannabis similarly to alcohol. Bills to make cannabis legal have been introduced in 20 states this year, including Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Michigan voters will likely be able to support a similar initiative on the November 2018 ballot.