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Maryland Governor Vetoes Marijuana Decriminalization Fix Bill


maryland marijuanaGov. Hogan Vetoes Widely Supported Bill Intended to Fix Maryland Marijuana Decriminalization Law

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced late Friday afternoon that he has vetoed a widely supported bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of marijuana paraphernalia, including potential jail time. The measure would also designate public marijuana consumption a civil offense punishable by a $500 fine.

SB 517, introduced by Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), was approved 32-13 in the Senate and 83-53 in the House of Delegates. Maryland adopted a law last year that decriminalized possession of a small amount of marijuana, but it did not include marijuana paraphernalia.
Gov. Hogan’s letter to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller announcing the veto and explaining his reasoning is available at http://bit.ly/1ellF1e.

Statement from the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland, which supported SB 517:


“Gov. Hogan’s decision to veto this widely supported, common-sense legislation is baffling. An overwhelming majority of Maryland voters do not want citizens to be subjected to jail time and a lifelong criminal record simply for using marijuana. Their elected officials have stood up for them on this issue twice, and we hope they will do so again by overriding the governor’s veto.

“Gov. Hogan’s excuse for opposing this legislation does not hold water. Under the proposed law, it would remain entirely illegal to consume marijuana while driving and police would maintain the ability to stop anyone who they believed to be engaging in such an activity. Ironically, if Gov. Hogan’s veto holds, law enforcement officials will continue to spend time arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana paraphernalia possession instead of spending it on looking for impaired and otherwise dangerous drivers. If the governor’s aim was to keep our roads safe, his veto of SB 517 was an epic misfire.”

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The Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland includes the ACLU of Maryland, CASA de Maryland, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Demand Progress, Equality Maryland, Job Opportunities Task Force, International Women’s Cannabis Coalition-Maryland Chapter, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, League of Women Voters of Maryland, Libertarian Party of Maryland, Maryland Green Party, Marijuana Policy Project, Maryland Justice Project, Maryland NORML, Maryland United for Peace and Justice, Medical Cannabis Advocates of Maryland, Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches, Maryland State Conference, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, Montgomery County Young Democrats, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 400, and Veterans for Peace, Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter.

Learn more at http://www.MarijuanaPolicyInMd.org.


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. The ONLY real argument that could be used in his veto is Maryland’s Law Enforcement is not yet equipped to determine if someone is in fact Under the Influence. As of right now, the ONLY admissible test would be a Blood Test and that is dangerous and exposes Law Enforcement to bio hazards. That would be my only argument to support his veto.

  2. Hogan’s arguments against this bill are quite deficient to say the least. Use of Marijuana while driving would still be criminalized by DUI laws and since it would be against the law to be under the influence while driving, the cops could still pull you over from seeing you use marijuana in the car. Surely, the existing Civil penalties under The Clean Indoor Air Act of Maryland, should be enough to deter the other arguments validating his veto. I think he let the special interests of Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and the Legal Community influence his decision to veto. Funny, those groups profit the most from keeping Marijuana illegal. Its ALL about money and money alone.

  3. A fascist is someone who uses bogus claims of protecting the community to take away rights from people they just plain don’t like. Sound like anyone you know?

  4. One characteristic of fascism (rightwing or leftwing) is the tendency to scapegoat. Cannabis users are America’s designated scapegoats, punished for the crimes of the alcohol gang.

  5. No, I don’t just disagree with people who think it’s ok to steal someone’s child because the parent is using cannabis instead of alcohol, I despise their fascist, traitorous ways.

  6. On the subject of cannabis he’s a fascist. People who hypocritically order their fellow citizens around are fascists. All the more so when they ignore both science and public opinion, and refuse to honestly discuss the subject. Maybe his unfortunate very serious illness will lead to a change of heart.
    No, we don’t just disagree, people like him are trampling on my right to equal protection under the law, to not be subject to arbitrary law, and to share in that liberty and justice for all business. Given that killer alcohol is far more dangerous than weed, the law is an obviously bogus piece of garbage.
    And in case you’re wondering, people who deny the right to gay marriage are being fascists too (but now that they’ve been so thoroughly defeated, it doesn’t particularly need to be rubbed in their faces).

  7. Tumaka Cross on

    I can’t be mad after reading that letter he sent. I understand non-stoners not wanting to around people having sessions in the park, you shouldn’t be even smoking cigarettes there. Also I love to go on a blunt ride just like the next, but I knew I had no business being that high behind the wheel of a car, we got keep it real if we want them to take us seriously, and its common sense.

  8. Delena Fan For Life on

    Anyone know where I can get weed in Maryland? I’m on Vacation with my in-laws.

  9. …and the intellectual acumen of your reply confirms my verdict. I don’t care if you disagree with me – I’m sure you will on this topic. Just please use words that have real meaning that someone could at least read and conclude: “At least his argument is rational”. Who knows – if you take the time to think and articulate yourself, we may actually end up in agreement. If you do this, it’s a start to “getting a life.” And btw – I do realize you aren’t the person who created the original post. Same advice goes to him.

  10. Over 10,000 people are killed a year over alcohol related car accidents , but they are worried about getting “drugs off the street” drugs they are referring to is pot . Why don’t they worry about getting Drunk Drivers Off The Streets . All you hear on the new is big marijuana busted. You never hear about big Herion bust or crack bust. Then you have meth clinics on every block. A live saving plant is causing all this controversy . But hey if you get addicted to meth the government lets you be able to join a meth clinic near you . ??

  11. Greg Schaub on

    I’m just going to assume you heard the word “fascist” but never bothered to look it up in the dictionary. Hitler was a fascist. Hogan is someone with whom you disagree. Get a life.

  12. Greg Schaub on

    Well I’m so excited to read editorials from people that are in favor of increased rates of fatal auto accidents. Really, let yourselves come down from your high before trying to write. Otherwise the result will continue to reflect the loss of intelligence gone up in smoke.

  13. newageblues on

    I don’t think anyone is manipulating this joker. He’s a traditional Catholic social conservative who hates cannabis and other illegal drugs. I don’t think he even understands that alcohol is a drug..

  14. SaintSteveG on

    Before everybody jumps on the “get the Republican” bandwagon, keep in mind that the Maryland state house has been in Democratic hands for the last two terms and for generations before that as well and your wonderful Democrats have never seen their way to legalization or even a rational medical marijuana policy. This is not a partisan issue – it is a business as usual issue. The police and “justice” industries are not going to give up the power and money they get from the war on pot without a long battle. It is very disappointing that Hogan, who was seeming like a breath of fresh air in the old pol process, saw fit to knuckle under to the powers that be on this. That BS about driving is a smokescreen; you bust drivers high on pot the same way as DUIs – by the way they drive. There is no rational reason for pot to ever have been illegal other than some misguided puritanism that is afraid someone is having a good time and the aforementioned need by the legal cartel to be able to control and hassle citizens who are doing no harm.

  15. thewayfarer on

    It looks like greater than 60% of both house voted for it, so hopefully they will override his misguided veto.

  16. baffledannoyedangry on

    lol well another republican that could care less about the people…so, thanks guys for being manipulated so bad you voted in a puppet..

  17. AntiIgnorant on

    Clearly, he is owned by corruption, his strings are being pulled and he is a hopeless loser incapable of being just.

  18. newageblues on

    Don’t waste your time writing Hogan about weed. Since he can’t respond to our arguments in any serious way, he just doesn’t reply at all. After promising he would. I don’t see any progress being made in MD while this fascist is in office, it’s going to be a long depressing 4 years, at least.

  19. stellarvoyager on

    Maryland could have had an herb-friendly governor, but they fell for the 2014 “GOP wave”, and like lemmings, voted in a GOP gov, who like all of the others is hostile to cannabis. Too bad, MD. You get the government you vote for.

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