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The potential penalties for cannabis possession in Maryland

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2023 | Drug Charges

Drug charges in Maryland are taken seriously. If you are convicted of selling drugs, you can face significant penalties. The specific penalties depend on the type and amount you are caught with. 

Recently, Maryland residents voted to legalize some amounts of cannabis for possession and use. This only applies to adults over 21, who can grow, use and possess cannabis. The law goes into effect in July of 2023, and until then, it remains largely illegal. 

What to know about the penalties

Until July 2023, cannabis is illegal for everyone except those with an approved medical prescription. While this is true, recreational users will not be charged unless they are caught with over 10 grams of cannabis or if they are caught using it in a public area. In these situations, they may face fines of up to $500. 

If you are caught with more than 10 grams of cannabis, part of your charges will be based on what the police believe you would do with it. For example, different charges apply if the intent is for personal use, distribution or trafficking. 

You will be believed to have cannabis for personal use if it is under 50 pounds. For this, you can face up to a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. Over 50 pounds increases penalties to a mandatory jail sentence of five years and fines of up to $100,000.

If the police believe you intend to distribute the substance, you will face fines of up to $15,000 and five years in jail for under 50 pounds, and a mandatory sentence of five years in jail for over 50 pounds. However, if the police believe you are a “kingpin” of the operation, you will face 20 to 40 years in prison. 

Defending yourself when facing cannabis-related charges

As you can see, the penalties for possessing marijuana in Maryland can be severe. You must learn your legal rights and options in these situations to protect yourself.