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Recreational cannabis is now legal in MD – with limits

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2023 | Drug Charges

Now that recreational cannabis is legal in Maryland, it’s important to know that this doesn’t mean the state has become a “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” free-for-all. It’s legal for adults (21 and over) to use. There are limitations on where it can be used and how much you can have.

There are also strict regulations regarding the cultivation and sale of cannabis. Growers and dispensaries must be licensed by the Maryland Cannabis Administration.

It’s also important to remember that cannabis is still an illegal drug under federal law. Traveling to another state with cannabis can also still land you in legal trouble – even if you’re traveling between states (or Washington, D.C.) where it’s legal. Let’s look at just a few regulations that you should know:

How much can you have?

Adults can have cannabis products of any kind totaling up to 750 milligrams of THC. They can possess up to 12 grams of concentrated cannabis (for example, vape products) and for recreational purposes and up to 1.5 ounces of “flower” products like joints.

Individuals can share cannabis with friends who are at least 21. However, you can’t legally sell it to them.

Where can you smoke it?

You cannot smoke cannabis legally in public spaces (including sidewalks and streets) or in vehicles. It’s not allowed in restaurants or bars unless an establishment has the appropriate licensing for on-site consumption. 

What about driving under the influence?

Even though authorities can’t test for cannabis in a person’s system as accurately as they can with alcohol, it’s still unwise (and unsafe) to drive while under the influence. If you’re new to cannabis use (or even if you’re not), don’t plan to drive until after the effects have fully worn off, which can easily be hours. 

As we discussed in a recent post, Maryland now prohibits police from using the odor of marijuana as the sole excuse for searching a vehicle. Nonetheless, it’s unwise (and again, unsafe) to drive in a vehicle permeated by the smell of the drug. If you’re driving home from a dispensary, it’s also smart to put your purchase (unopened) in the trunk so there’s no question of your ability to access it.

The laws are new, and it’s going to take some time for Marylanders (including law enforcement officers) to fully understand them. If you find yourself facing charges for any drug-related crime or you have questions about a previous conviction related to cannabis, it’s wise to get legal guidance.