The cannabis industry continues taking shape in the U.S, with Maryland and Missouri joining the list of states that have legalized recreational marijuana. On November 8, both states voted to legalize recreational cannabis.
So, what does this mean for the two states? Well, there are a couple of things that you should know to avoid finding yourself on the wrong side of the law. Here’s an in-depth look at what the legalization of recreational marijuana means for Maryland and Missouri.
Maryland was one of the states projected to legalize weed in 2022. Since that has materialized, adults 21 and older will now be allowed to possess, smoke, and grow cannabis. Nevertheless, Marylanders should still be aware of the following.
Starting July 1, 2023, adults 21 and older will be allowed to possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis. Anyone with more than 1.5 ounces but less than 2.5 ounces will get a civil fine of up to $250. Similarly, possessing more than 2.5 ounces will attract a fine of up to $1000 or a jail term of up to six months.
Although Maryland has legalized recreational cannabis, the sale of weed won’t be immediately available. When lawmakers voted to include cannabis legalization on the ballot at the start of the year, they also passed a companion bill outlining the next steps of regulation.
Hence, lawmakers have yet to set up a framework for retail sales. This will likely be a topic of discussion in the next General Assembly session in January.
Missouri also voted to approve Amendment 3, which legalized recreational cannabis. This means that adults 21 and older will soon be able to buy recreational marijuana joints, gummies and other products. Still, the amendment won’t go into effect until December 8. Here are other changes that will also take place.
Missourians can expect to start purchasing recreational cannabis products from February 6, 2023. Initial licenses will first be given to businesses that have become leaders in the medical marijuana sector.
The amendment also creates a licensing program for smaller entrepreneurs and businesses. This is designed to help them break into the market by cultivating weed and selling cannabis accessories at a smaller scale.
Criminal justice reform was one of the areas that activists, entrepreneurs, and criminal justice advocates were looking to change. With the recent move to legalize recreational cannabis, there will be an automatic expungement for nonviolent marijuana charges for people who aren’t currently incarcerated.
According to John Payne, a spokesman for Legal Missouri 2022, cases will be expurged in the order of severity. Legal Missouri 2022 is the group that backed Amendment 3. This means cases that are less severe will be prioritized.
The legalization of recreational cannabis in Maryland and Missouri is set to benefit the states and their residents. Not only will the two states earn substantial revenue, but it’ll also create many opportunities for local cannabis entrepreneurs.