Maryland Marijuana Laws
While it’s true that marijuana has started to be viewed as much less of a serious legal issue in this country, the fact is that outside of Colorado and California, marijuana possession is still a very real crime. This is true in Maryland as well, and in this state it’s classified as a Schedule I substance. This means that it has been classified by the government as a drug with a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical value, under Maryland Ann. Code Section 5-402. However, in some limited circumstances Maryland marijuana laws may actually allow medical marijuana to be used, although the definitions of what is allowed can be very strict and confusing. If facing marijuana possession charges, cultivation charges or any drug charges you need the help of our skilled Maryland drug crime defense lawyers.
Please feel free to contact our Towson drug crime defense attorneys. Proudly serving many part of Maryland such as Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Harford County and Howard County, MD.
Taking a closer look at marijuana and the legalities related to it is important, and will help you understand more about the laws and the penalties associated with different issues related to it. It’s important before we begin to mention that although this article doesn’t cover the specifics of it, it’s also a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in the state of Maryland, and offenders will often be charged in a similar manner to those who drive while drunk.
The charge of marijuana possession is by far one of the most common marijuana related charges that those in Maryland face. According to Md. Ann. Code Section 5-601, knowingly or intentionally possessing any amount of marijuana is a crime. This applies even to very small amounts of marijuana that are possessed only for personal use, and violation of this law is considered to be a misdemeanor offense. Those found guilty can be punished with a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or a combination of fines and jail time.
Along with possession, drug paraphernalia is the other most common marijuana related offense seen in Maryland courts today. According to Md. Ann. Code section 5-619, it’s illegal to possess, advertise, sell, or use any type of paraphernalia. This includes items that are used to assist in the growing, harvesting, selling, storing, or using of marijuana. Items like pipes, baggies, scales, bongs, and more can be considered paraphernalia. The penalties for paraphernalia possession will depend largely upon previous offenses, and will usually be a misdemeanor charge.
• First Offense – The first offense will be punished by a fine of up to $500.
• Second and Subsequent Offense – Later offenses could be punished with fines of up to $2,000 and as much as 2 years in prison.
• Sale To Minors – Additionally, any adult who sells paraphernalia to minors who are at least three years younger than the adult in question will face an additional charge. The penalties for this charge are much more serious and could include a fine of as much as $15,000 and up to 8 years in prison, or both.
Sale and Cultivation of Cannabis
The sale and cultivation of marijuana is also illegal in the state, no matter if you’re in Harford County, Baltimore County, or elsewhere. The specific penalties will vary based upon the total amount of marijuana sold, the amount of marijuana cultivated from plants, and other similar guidelines. This law is governed under Md. Ann. Code Sections 5-602, 5-607, and 5-608, and under these codes the following punishments may apply.
• For up to 50 pounds of marijuana grown or sold, a felony charge will be used. Punishment includes a fine of as much as $15,000 and up to 5 years in prison.
• 50 pounds of marijuana or more will come with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison as well as a fine of potentially up to $100,000.
• Additionally, selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or on a school bus will add additional penalties. This is still a felony, but the punishment can reach as much as a $20,000 fine and up to 20 years in prison.
The act of trafficking marijuana is when a suspect transports marijuana from out of state across the Maryland border and into the state. It’s one of the most serious marijuana related offenses and the penalties for this crime will, like most associated with marijuana, depend largely upon the specific amount of marijuana that is transported. Guidelines include:
• Amounts of marijuana less than 5 kilograms are treated as possession for sale crimes. The penalties listed in the section above will apply in these instances.
• Amounts between 5 and 45 kilograms will come with potential penalties of up to 10 years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or a combination of prison time and fines.
• Trafficking 45 kilograms or more will bring harsher penalties of up to a $50,000 fine and up to 25 years in prison.
Medical Marijuana Use In Maryland
Maryland Senate Bill 308 removed all criminal penalties associated with the possession, use, or cultivation of one ounce or less of marijuana if used for medical purposes. In Maryland, those who use medical marijuana may still be arrested for use or possession. After they are arrested, it is up to the suspect to prove to a judge or jury that their use of the marijuana was within the medical marijuana laws. This includes proving that use was legitimate and that other laws were obeyed. A few things are important to remember here.
• Up to one ounce – If the defendant proves that their use was within the medical marijuana laws and less than an ounce was possessed, the defendant will be acquitted.
• More than an ounce – if the amount was over an ounce, a defendant may still be fined as much as $100 dollars or sentenced to up to a year in jail.
• Driving and public use – If the defendant was found driving while under the influence of marijuana, they’ll still be charged with a crime regardless of medical state. Additionally, use of marijuana in public will eliminate the right to seek medical use allowances during trial.
Maryland Drug Court Programs
The state of Maryland, like most states, have specialty courts for several different types of crimes. Drug treatment courts are specialized court dockets that can help criminal defendants and offenders, juvenile offenders, and parents with pending child welfare cases who have alcohol, DUI, DWI and other drug dependency problems. To discuss your case and learn more about how our team of Bel Air Maryland DUI defense lawyers & Towson MD drug crime defense attorneys can help you contact us today.
Traditional Court vs. Drug Court
The premise behind Maryland’s specialty court programs is to help those struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction and mental health issues. They are ‘in lieu of jail’ programs and are not for everyone facing DUI or drug charges. If you feel you have a problem with alcohol or drugs MD’s specialty courts may be for you. Speaking with our Bel Air MD criminal defense attorneys behooves you as they have helped many people in Maryland get accepted into these programs as well as getting their lives back on track.
Some of the differences between drug courts and conventional courts are:
- Individuals representing entities within the criminal justice system to achieve the goal
- Goal = “Legal Justice”
- Court has limited role in supervision of defendant
- Treatment programs of variable lengths and intensity
- Relapse = New crime or violation of probation = Enhanced sentence
- Court team working together to achieve the goal
- Non adversarial
- Goal = Restore defendant as a productive, non-criminal member of society
- Court plays integral role in monitoring defendant’s progress in treatment
- Individualized, but intensive and structured, treatment programs
- Graduated sanctions imposed in response to noncompliance with drug court program
The most unique and important characteristics of drug court programs is the cohesive relationship formed between you, the drug court team members & the drug court judge. Collaboration begins during the early planning stage and continues throughout the operations of drug court. All major decision points, from screening criteria and eligibility requirements to termination an completion of the program, result from collaborative agreements among drug court team members. The court, through the designated drug court judge, provides the overall leadership of the team and represents the court authority to the drug court participants.
Let our team of Annapolis Maryland drug possession defense lawyers explain your rights to you. They will help you decide if drug court is a good fit for you. From there they will do everything in their power to help you gain acceptance into the program. Dial (410) 321-8860 for a free consultation.
Bail & Maryland Criminal & Drug Charges
When arrested in the state of Maryland, that person will be taken by law enforcement agents, typically the police, to jail for booking. During this process, the person will have a mug shot taken, he or she will be fingerprinted, and asked for a statement. While awaiting his or her day in court, the individual will be held in jail unless he or she is released on bail.
Bail is merely a financial arrangement that a bail bonding agency will make on behalf of the criminal defendant. A bail bonding agency, acting for the defendant, will arrange with the court to have a suspect released from jail pending the trial in exchange for money or collateral, which may be cash, assets, or a bond. The court sets the monetary value of the bail.
The bail agency is then responsible for ensuring that the individual arrives in court on the day of his or her trial. If the individual does not turn up in court, then the bail agency may hire a bounty hunter to track the individual down. It should be noted that the U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that still allows bounty hunting. A bond is a surety that the full bail amount will be paid, but some courts will accept either the full bond or a 10% cash down payment for the release of a suspect. Working with a reputable bail bondsman is another aspect of your case that an experienced Baltimore County criminal defense attorney can help you with.
The Importance Of Legal Representation
The laws within Maryland are unique when compared to many laws in other states, and it’s important to seek the help of our Annapolis marijuana possession defense lawyers to assist you with your case. In fact, some laws may differ from town to town, and those in Baltimore may be different in Towson or Bel Air. That’s why having a legal professional who knows all of the legalities within your municipality is important. Using our Towson, MD criminal defense attorneys will help you understand more about how the prosecutors and judges in the courthouse in your area will usually handle marijuana cases, and will help you get a better understanding on how best to proceed with your defense. Dial (410) 321-8860 for a free initial consultation.
Serving Annapolis, Aberdeen, Abingdon, Bel Air, Baltimore, Columbia, Churchville, Dundalk, Ellicott City, Essex, Glen Burnie, Owings Mills, Joppatowne, White Marsh, Cockeysville, Timonium, Edgewood, Reistertown, Middle River & Crownsville, MD.