Voters in the more conservative states of Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota also decided to legalize recreation this year, demonstrating growing support for what was once a liberal issue. The sentence adds Maryland to the list of 19 states that have legalized adult recreational drug use and three of her territories, including both Washington, D.C. and Virginia.
The referendum was the one Kristen White, 29, was most excited to vote for in Silver Spring on Tuesday. White said Maryland has been slow to legalize it and hoped it would end some ongoing problems. The stigma associated with marijuana use.
Event planner White said, “More and more people are comfortable using cannabis. Fewer people are afraid of it.”
Maryland’s passage was expected, but polls show that more than half of Americans support legalization, so it reflects a shift in national opinion on the pot. Last month, President Biden announced a major amnesty for those convicted of simple possession in the past and moved to reassess marijuana’s Schedule I classification.
“Maryland voters strongly supported legalizing cannabis use by responsible adults,” Maryland NORML executive director Russia Nyankale said in a statement Tuesday night. said. “Question 4 creates a long-awaited change in Maryland’s judicial, social, and economic landscape. It is an important first step in the right direction.”
With such unequivocal support, the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Maryland was crushed in the months and weeks leading up to Election Day. The “Yes on 4” campaign, partly funded by medical cannabis giant Trulieve, released several video ads and hosted several small gatherings.
Majority of Maryland Voters Support Recreational Marijuana Legalization, Post-UMD Poll Shows
Instead, many of the state’s supporters pre-empted how the state could become a leader in cannabis social equity. This has become an increasing priority for advocates across the country who hope legalization can lessen the impact of the war on drugs on minority communities. In between, blacks were 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession nationally than whites, despite similar rates of marijuana use among blacks and whites. In Maryland, a black person was 2.1 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, according to an ACLU study.
“Tonight, Maryland voters made history by ending the failed era of marijuana prohibition,” said former Baltimore Ravens player Eugene Monroe, chairman of the “Yes on 4” campaign. “For decades, the unequal criminalization of cannabis in Maryland has hurt Black and Brown communities. We must turn the pages of that disturbing history by focusing on species equality.”
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A decade after Colorado and Washington became the first states Few states have implemented a successful model for social equity to legalize recreational marijuana. The Maryland House of Representatives Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Working Group earlier this month reviewed a report that estimated that his 81% of nationwide cannabis business owners are white.
For Shayne Richmond, a senior at the University of Maryland, the issue of social equity was top of mind when she voted for legalization. Richmond, a black man standing outside the Richie Coliseum in College Park handing out flyers, said he was excited about the prospect of black entrepreneurs opening up in the space.
Criminalization is “another reason why the incarceration rate for African-American men is disproportionate, and it’s something I definitely don’t want to see anymore,” Richmond, 22, said. I think there are a lot of business opportunities and entrepreneurial opportunities in the world.”
Majority of Defendants Still Black After Virginia Legalizes Pot
In 2014, Maryland decriminalized possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana with a $100 fine. The state then opened its first medical dispensary under its medical marijuana program in 2017, generating more than $420 million in sales so far this year. I was criticized for my lack of it.
When lawmakers voted to put question 4 on the ballot earlier this year, they created related legislation that included resentencing and expungement provisions for those convicted of past marijuana possession. With the passage of Question 4, accompanying legislation would require states to conduct public health impact studies and disparity studies to help future women- and minority-owned businesses enter new industries. I am requesting that
Other provisions include the creation of a Cannabis Business Support Fund and a Community Reinvestment and Restoration Fund, which will provide communities that have historically been most affected by marijuana prosecutions with at least one share of proceeds from adult-use cannabis. 30% must be reinvested.
City Councilman Martin A. Mitchell toured districts across the state on Tuesday and spoke with voters on issues including Question 4. Mitchell has been dubbed the “Cannabis Councilor” for being open about marijuana use, reform and advocacy. Potential economic opportunities if legalization is passed.
“Imagine spending $2 million from legal cannabis to restore the Boys and Girls Club,” Mitchell said in Laurel, turning the building behind him where voters were casting their ballots. pointed.
But for some voters less accustomed to the nuances of social equity, licensing and reinvestment, the decision to vote for legalization, even if they themselves are not users of the once-maligned drug It came down to changing the country’s perspective on
How Kathy Baer, 64, a retired public school teacher, viewed the issue when she voted Voted for legalization in College Park on Tuesday morning.
“There’s very little stigma. A lot of people enjoy it. Why don’t they let them?” said Bear. .”
Most Americans support weed legalization. He hoped the jury would too.
But public opinion on cannabis use is far from unanimous. Young people were using marijuana and some hallucinogens at record levels last year, according to a report funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Pete Ireland, a 51-year-old project manager, voted against legalization for Frederick, calling the push “paralyzing the people.”
Federico Rodriguez said he was “a bit ripped” at Question 4 as he headed into the Silver Spring polling place on Tuesday. He thought of his family who benefited from medical marijuana. He was concerned about security and crime concerns.
“Even while voting on that particular issue, I still had my doubts. So I guess I’m not alone,” Rodriguez, 51, said. He did not disclose his decision.
But 61-year-old Raymond Abbott knew exactly what he was up to. he said.
For other races, Abbott filled in his name.
Shwetha Surendran, Ian Duncan, Emily Seymour Contributed to this updated report.