Election 2022 Marijuana

A demonstrator waves a flag with marijuana leaves depicted on it during a protest calling for the legalization of marijuana, outside of the White House on April 2, 2016, in Washington. Voters in Maryland approved a ballot referendum that makes marijuana legal in the state.

(The Center Square) – Maryland voters supported legalizing recreational marijuana in a statewide referendum question that was on the ballot, making it the 20th state where it will be permissible.

According to preliminary results on the Maryland State Board of Elections website, Question 4 on the statewide ballot garnered two-thirds support for allowing adults age 21 and up in the state to possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana, beginning July 1.

Residents also will have the authority to grow up to two plants, so long as they are in public view.

The Election Night victory prompted prepared statements from such advocacy groups as the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project.

“The passage of Question 4 is a huge victory for criminal justice reform and racial justice in Maryland,” Olivia Naugle, senior policy analyst with the MPP, said in a statement.

Naugle added, “It will save thousands of Marylanders from arrests and further criminalization for cannabis possession, and it will begin to repair the decades of harm cannabis prohibition has caused, disproportionately in communities of color, by expunging records and reinvesting back into those communities. We look forward to working closely with Maryland lawmakers to ensure that the implementation of legalization is centered around equity.”

Maryland joins a growing list of states legalizing cannabis for adult use. Up to Election Day, it was legally permissible for recreational use in 19 states and for medical use in 37 states.

Question 4 on the ballot simply stated, “Do you favor the legalization of the use of cannabis by an individual who is at least 21 years of age on or after July 1, 2023, in the State of Maryland?”

The binding referendum question only needed a simple majority to pass.

With voters’ support in the books, the General Assembly will be tasked in the upcoming legislative session in January to pass laws for the use, distribution, regulation, and taxation of cannabis.

Maryland’s cannabis referendum question was borne out of House Bill 1 and House Bill 837 in the 2022 legislative session. Delegate Luke Clippinger, D-Baltimore County, issued both bills.

Maryland currently has a robust medical marijuana program, which was enacted in 2013. And, in 2014, the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana was decriminalized.

However, nationally, Maryland has three of the top 10 counties that have the highest rates for possession arrests.

Preliminary polling in advance of election day indicated majority support for legalizing cannabis in Maryland.

A Goucher College poll in September showed 59% of residents were in favor, 34% were against, and 7% were undecided. That same month, a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll showed 73% support legalization, 23% oppose legalization, and 4% were undecided.