If you have a chronic medical condition or certain disorder, you may be like the thousands of Americans who are searching for alternatives to traditional treatment. In many states, these individuals find relief with medical marijuana, but, unfortunately, this is not yet an option for residents of Maryland.
The national perception toward the medicinal use of cannabis has shifted dramatically over the last few years, but laws differ from state to state. While Maryland is moving toward establishing a system for the dispensing of medical marijuana, at this time, it remains illegal to possess this drug for recreational or health-related purposes.
The penalties for possession of marijuana
The penalties associated with marijuana possession in the state depend on the amount with which you are caught and your criminal history. Recent changes in state laws have decriminalized this drug under a certain amount, instead resulting in a civil citation instead of criminal penalties. The consequences for marijuana possession are as follows:
· Less than 10 grams: Law enforcement can issue a civil citation but cannot place a person under arrest. For a first offense, the fine amount can be as much as $100 and a second offense can bring penalties up to $250. Like a traffic ticket, a person retains the right to contest this citation.
· 10 grams up to 50 pounds: Penalties for possession of more than 10 grams can bring steep penalties, including up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. This is a misdemeanor crime.
· More than 50 pounds: This is a felony crime, and it will result in a minimum of five years in prison. Fines can be as much as $100,000.
If you are under the age of 21, have multiple marijuana citations on your record or are facing charges of illegal cultivation or distribution, the consequences for possession can increase.
Should you seek legal help?
Regardless of whether you possess marijuana for medicinal purposes or another reason, it is important to seek the assistance of an attorney to help you potentially avoid or mitigate certain penalties and seek the best outcome to your case. Medical marijuana may be legal in the near future, but until the necessary legal processes are in place, you will benefit from the help of an attorney if you face a citation or criminal charge for possession of this type of drug.