Maryland has taken a significant step towards the decriminalization of cannabis with the recent legalization of recreational marijuana.
One of these, the Cannabis Odor law, eliminates the use of the smell of cannabis as probable cause for police searches of individuals or vehicles. The law went into effect on July 1.
Additionally, a law passed during the legislative session prevents the separation of children from their parents based solely on cannabis use.
These changes aim to address the disproportionate impact of cannabis criminalization on black and brown communities.
The Redeem Act
Dartigue said changes to state cannabis policy are significant because previous legislation primarily impacted minorities in urban communities.
The Redeem Act will go into effect on October 1. It reduces the cost and wait times for seeking expungement for certain convictions.
“Criminalization of cannabis has disproportionately impacted black and brown Marylanders,” Dartigue said. “The truth is from 2015 to 2017 96% of arrestees in Baltimore alone for marijuana were Black.”