On July 1, 2023, the new Maryland state cannabis law goes into effect, changing the law on the purchase, possession, and usage of cannabis. Below are some frequently asked questions about the new law and how it affects police enforcement.
What is the Maryland state cannabis law that goes into effect on July 1, 2023?
According to the new law, adults 21 or older may possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower, 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, or a total amount of cannabis products that does not exceed 750 mg THC. This amount is known as the "personal use amount."
I am under 21. Are there penalties for underage use and possession of cannabis?
A person under 21 years of age may not possess or use non-medical cannabis. Possession of 2.5 ounces or less (a civil use amount) may result in a fine, a court order to attend drug education programming, and referral for assessment and/or treatment of substance use disorder. Possession of more than 2.5 ounces may result in criminal penalties.
Can I sell cannabis?
No, you cannot sell cannabis of any amount without a license.
Can I use cannabis in public or in my car?
Cannabis (and hemp) smoking is prohibited in any public place or in any motor vehicle. A public place includes outdoor spaces and indoor spaces open to the public, including parks, streets and sidewalks, bars and restaurants, public transportation (e.g., buses, van, trains, taxicabs, limousines) and indoor places of employment. Because cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, you also may not possess cannabis on any federal property such as a national park.
Is driving under the influence (DUI) of cannabis illegal?
Yes, driving while impaired by cannabis remains illegal under Maryland law.
How can an officer determine if I am driving under the influence of cannabis?
Law enforcement officers can make a cannabis DUI arrest if they observe impairment using field sobriety testing. Some officers have been specially-trained as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs).
Can an officer conduct a traffic stop or search my vehicle based solely on the smell or observation of cannabis?
Beginning July 1, officers cannot conduct a traffic stop or search your vehicle based solely on the smell of cannabis or observation of a personal use amount of cannabis in the vehicle. However, the smell of cannabis can still be used as one factor if an officer suspects that a driver is impaired.
Where can I get more information about the new cannabis law?
Additional questions regarding the new state law, including the purchase, possession, and usage of cannabis can be found in this FAQ from the Maryland Cannabis Administration.