House Speaker: Marijuana Will Be On November 2022 Ballot
Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones announced Friday that she plans to let voters decide whether the state should legalize recreational marijuana use.
“While I have personal concerns about encouraging marijuana use, particularly among children and young adults, the disparate criminal justice impact leads me to believe that the voters should have a say in the future of legalization,” Jones said in a statement.
She said the House “will pass” legislation in the next General Assembly session, which begins in January, putting the question on the November 2022 ballot.
To prepare for potential legalization, Jones also announced a workgroup to tackle a range of related issues, such as how to tax the drug, what sort of regulations and licenses are needed, how criminal and traffic laws need to be changed to accommodate legalization, and how the change could affect the medical marijuana industry.
“The most important thing from my perspective — and I think a lot of the caucus shares this opinion — is the racial equity piece,” said House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke, who will lead the group’s efforts related to taxing the drug. “The prosecution of the drug war has fallen disproportionately on low-income and minority communities, so, you know, as we legalize recreational cannabis, we need to make sure we go back and repair some of the harm done to those communities.”
He said that effort will include expunging criminal records related to marijuana, as well as ensuring that minority-owned businesses have a stake in the new industry.
The group is set to begin meeting this fall.