The proposed ballot question would allow voters to legalize the possession of up to one ounce of weed by any adult, and would also establish a regulated, taxed retail sales market. This week, the state House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing to decide whether to allow the proposal to advance. If the committee does advance the legislation, each chamber of the General Assembly will then need to approve the constitutional amendment with a 60% majority in order to place it on this year’s ballot.
If the amendment passes with the required majority vote, the bill will not be subject to a veto by Gov. Larry Hogan, and the legalization decision will fall on the state’s voters. “So far, all but one of the states that have legalized marijuana have done so through ballot initiative. “
A similar measure failed to pass last year, but Bell still has hope that legislators will give voters a chance to decide the fate of legalization for themselves.
But while cannabis advocates are turning a hopeful eye towards full legalization, lawmakers are still struggling to regulate the state’s medical marijuana program. Html”>increasing the number of cannabis cultivation licenses from 15 to 20. These new licenses would only be available to minority- or female-owned businesses.
The bill also increases the number of cannabis processing licenses from 15 to 25, and mandates that seven of these new licenses should be granted to minority-owned businesses. Out of all the new licenses created by the bill four have already been reserved for businesses that already have state licenses, including two white-owned businesses, one of which is owned by a top donor to Governor Hogan.