TOWSON — AAA Mid-Atlantic has come out against a new push to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Maryland.
A measure at the Maryland General Assembly — House Bill 32 — would legalize cannabis for recreational use. The bill is starting to make its way through the legislative process in Annapolis.
AAA, which has 988,000 members in Maryland, worries about legalized cannabis resulting in more impaired driving and traffic accidents.
“While we recognize the complexities of HB 32 and the many public policy impacts of the legislation, AAA opposes the legalization of recreational cannabis due to the inherent traffic safety risks,” said Ragina Ali, public and government affairs manager at AAA Mid-Atlantic.
The auto club points to increases in accidents (including fatal ones) and rising insurance rates in some states where cannabis has been legalized. That includes Washington state where AAA found fatal car accidents doubled after marijuana was legalized. AAA also points to increase in accident rates and insurance claims in Colorado, Oregon and Nevada after legalization measures were passed.
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. House Bill 32 would do the same in Maryland, where medical marijuana is already legal.
The Maryland measure would allow for possession and cultivation of small amounts of cannabis. It would also expunge some past criminal records related to marijuana possession. Tax revenue from legal weed sales would also be earmarked toward historically black colleges and universities (including the University of Maryland Eastern Shore) as well as communities impacted by the past drug laws.
AAA is also pushing for some additions to a legalization bill if it is passed. That includes updated open container laws to restrict personal cannabis use in