Last April, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the legislature's marijuana decriminalization bill. On Oct. 1, the new law allowing possession of less than 10 grams went into effect, making Maryland the 18th state to remove criminal penalties for possessing a small amount of marijuana.
On Apr. 7, the State Senate approved the bill by a 34-8 vote, following the House's 78-55 vote in favor on Apr. 5.
The final bill imposes a $100 fine for the first offense, $250 for the second and $500 for the third, at which point a "drug assessment" is required.
“As a young prosecutor, I once thought that decriminalizing the possession of marijuana might undermine the public will necessary to combat drug violence and improve public safety,” O’Malley said in a statement. “I now think that [it] is an acknowledgment of the low priority that our courts, our prosecutors, our police and the vast majority of citizens already attach to this transgression of public order and public health.”
Oregon was the first state to decriminalize marijuana in 1973.