A Maryland legislator who is a lead proponent for cannabis reform in the House of Delegates has pre-filed a legalization bill that could lay the groundwork for the state’s legal cannabis industry. If it is passed, the bill would legalize and regulate marijuana, allow state licensed businesses to sell cannabis products, expunge past cannabis-related convictions and re-invest in communities that were disproportionately affected by the decades’ long war on drugs.
According to Del. Jazz Lewis, who pre-filed the cannabis legalization bill titled HB0032, his office is still working on the legislation and some elements “are subject to change.” He introduced the bill because the data and popular opinion have overwhelmingly shown that it is time to end cannabis prohibition. Teen usage has decreased in states that have legalized marijuana as legal sales have disrupted the black market, he says, adding that law enforcement would spend its time and resources on “actual criminals.”
With Maryland’s legislative session beginning on Jan. 13, the bill will go through a procedural first reading in both the Judiciary and Health & Government Operations committees. It would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of cannabis or 15 grams of concentrate. Individuals would also be allowed to possess THC-infused products with up to 1,500 mg of total THC. Individuals found possessing products with up to two times the allowed limit will be subject to a civil fine of up to $250 or up to 16 hours of community services rather than jail time.
In addition, adults 21 and older would be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use at home as long as the plants are not visible from outside the property or accessible to minors. People would also be able to legally share or gift small amounts of cannabis to fellow adults. There would be a ban on public smoking with offenders liable to a civil fine of up to $50 or up to five hours of community service. Additionally, landlords will be allowed to prohibit cannabis smoking indoors or in a manner that inconveniences other tenants and employers will be able to fire employees who report to work under the influence of cannabis.
The bill would require the automatic expungement of “standalone cannabis offenses” by October 2022 and offenses connected to other charges by October 2023. Individuals on government supervision or in jail due to simple possession would also be released. Cannabis sales would be subject to a 20% tax as well as Maryland’s 6% sales tax. Local governments would have the option of imposing a further tax of up to 3%.
Most of the tax revenue would be invested in social equity programs, with 27% of the revenue from taxes and fees going to a Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund. An estimated 20% would go to the four historically black colleges in Maryland with 10% to social equity applicants and 3% to technical assistance for social equity applicants.
Across the U.S. border in Canada, Pure Extracts Technologies Inc. (CSE: PULL) is going full steam ahead with its cannabis extraction activities. The company offers extraction services to other licensed companies within and outside Canada.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/PULL
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