ANNAPOLIS — If Maryland lawmakers decide to legalize marijuana for recreational use, then they should outline agencies responsible to oversee program, put together an advisory council and outline advertising restrictions.
These are just three of the several recommendations an 18-member work group of state senators and delegates received Monday, Aug. 19 to assess the legalization of marijuana in the state.
“To manage this, it will be a shared responsibility,” said Matthew Swinburne, associate director of Network for Public Health Law-Eastern Region of Baltimore. “To effectively oversee an adult-use market, you will need a variety of agencies.”
Swinburne presented the pros and cons of 11 states and the District of Columbia which manage recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older.
Although Maryland and 32 other states and D.C. approved medical marijuana usage, Swinburne outlined rules and regulations for personal consumption are slightly different depending on the state.
For instance, residents in the states of Illinois and Washington are prohibited to cultivate cannabis for personal use, but can for medical purposes. In Nevada, residents can own six plants but must be at least 25 miles from a retail location.
State Sen. Melanie Griffith (D-District 25) of Upper Marlboro asked whether there are any economic benefits for counties and municipalities to allow for recreational marijuana use.
Swinburne said local jurisdictions can decide to prohibit, but isn’t sure about whether states allow local jurisdictions to impose additional taxes to sell marijuana for personal use.
John Hudak, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, said there are pros and cons to legalizing cannabis, pointing out that the economic revenue in Colorado increased every year from $683.5 million in 2014 to $1.54 billion in 2018. In Washington state, revenue increased from nearly $260 million in 2015 to $1.3 billion in 2017, he said.