Maryland Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

Gabriela Romero, Staff Writer

Maryland voters approved Ballot Measure 4 on Tuesday, November 8th, which legalizes  recreational use of marijuana in the state. On the measure, more than 66 percent of voters chose “yes” on legalization. 

According to Karina Elwood of The Washington Post, “Starting July 1, 2023, the ballot initiative will legalize personal possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana for adults 21 and older. Possession of more than 1.5 ounces but less than 2.5 ounces will thereafter be punishable by a civil fine of up to $250. Possession of more than 2.5 ounces will be punishable by up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000.”

While over 65 percent of voters chose to approve the measure, some don’t agree with it and think it’s careless to have it legalized. One of these is my mother, Vilma Romero, who says of legalizing marijuana: “it’s not a need, it’s a want. Marijuana is a gateway drug and it’s legal now.” 

Although there are concerns that come with legalization, there are limits and controls worked into the legislation. This includes related bills that will work to study the impact of legalization in the state and an examination of criminal records related to cannabis. Elwood notes that lawmakers created a “companion bill that includes re-sentencing and expungement provisions for those with past marijuana-possession convictions.” She adds that a companion bill “requires the state to conduct a study on the public health impact as well as a disparities study to help prospective women–and minority-owned businesses enter the new industry.”

While most students at Paint Branch are not able to vote, they do have opinions about the legalization of marijuana. Ashley Cabrera, an 11th grader, stated, “I think legalization is a good thing. I think this because kids nowadays are already purchasing marijuana; and now that it’s legal they will be able to purchase safe marijuana not ‘laced’ marijuana.” 

Another student, who wished to remain anonymous, has feelings similar to Ashley’s and said, “I think the legalization of marijuana is good because everyone does it either way, legal or illegal.”