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  • Frank Benvenuto, P.A.

Criminal Law and Procedure - Cannabis - Fines for Smoking in Public, Stops, and Searches

Updated: May 22, 2023


Fines for smoking marijuana in public, stops and searches
Marijuana laws in Maryland

A new bill will be in place as of July 1, 2023 with regard to possession of marijuana on your person if you are stopped for a motor vehicle violation.


Bill Summary:

A law enforcement officer may not initiate a stop or a search of a person, a motor vehicle, or a vessel based solely on one or more of the following types of evidence: (1) odor of burnt or unburnt cannabis; (2) possession (or suspicion of possession) of cannabis that does not exceed the personal use amount; or (3) the presence of cash or currency in proximity to cannabis without other indicia of an intent to distribute.

If a law enforcement officer is investigating a person solely for driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle or vessel while impaired by or under the influence of cannabis, the law enforcement officer may not search of an area of a motor vehicle or vessel that is not (1) readily accessible to the driver or operator of the motor vehicle or vessel or (2) reasonably likely to contain evidence relevant to the condition of the driver or operator of the motor vehicle or vessel.

Current Law:

Controlled Dangerous Substances – Cannabis

Controlled dangerous substances (CDS) are listed on one of five schedules (Schedules I through V) set forth in statute depending on their potential for abuse and acceptance for medical use. Cannabis (also known as marijuana) is listed on Schedule I. Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, for a drug or substance to be classified as Schedule I, the following findings must be made: (1) the substance has a high potential for abuse; (2) the drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in the United States; and (3) there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

No distinction is made in State law regarding the illegal possession of any CDS, regardless of which schedule it is on, with the exception of cannabis.

Among other things, Chapter 26 of 2022, renamed marijuana as “cannabis” in statute and defined cannabis as the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, including all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC) concentration greater than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. “Cannabis” does not include hemp as defined in § 14-101 of the Agriculture Article.

Possession of Cannabis

Pursuant to Chapter 26 of 2022 and the passage of the affiliated constitutional referendum, as of January 1, 2023, statute distinguishes between a “personal use amount” and a “civil use amount” of cannabis.

For more information on this new bill please follow this link:https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2023RS/fnotes/bil_0001/hb1071.pdf


If you have been in trouble while visiting Ocean City, MD and need legal counsel, please call me for a free consultation. I have over 30 years in Criminal Defense cases and know the local laws.


DUI & Criminal Defense Attorney, Frank Benvenuto P.A.

Cell: 443-783-2451

Office: 410-641-2999

www.ocmdlawyer.com

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