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Maryland: Medical Marijuana Law Overview and State Fines/Penalties - Archive

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Julie Gardener

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Maryland Medical Marijuana Overview

SUMMARY: Maryland's legislature passed a medical marijuana affirmative defense law in 2003. This law requires the court to consider a defendant's use of medical marijuana to be a mitigating factor in marijuana-related state prosecution. If the patient, post-arrest, successfully makes the case at trial that his or her use of marijuana is one of medical necessity, then the maximum penalty allowed by law would be a $100 fine.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Maryland Darrell Putman Compassionate Use Act, Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law §5-601(c)(3)(II) (2003).


Senate Bill 308, signed into law on May 10, 2011, removes fines and criminal penalties for citizens who successfully raise an 'affirmative defense' in court establishing that they possessed limited amounts (one ounce or less) of marijuana for medical purposes. Citizens who cultivate cannabis or who possess larger amounts of marijuana may still raise an affirmative defense at trial and, if successful, will have their sentence mitigated.

For more information and Becoming a Patient in Maryland - 2003 - Archive

Source: NORML
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Julie Gardener

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Maryland Marijuana Penalties​


♦ Any amount - misdemeanor Incarceration 1 year Fine $1,000

Sale or Cultivation

♦ Less than 50 lbs - felony Incarceration 5 years Fine $15,000

♦ 50 lbs or more - felony Incarceration 5 years MMS* Fine$100,000

♦ Within 1,000 feet of school or on a school bus - felony Incarceration 20 years Fine $20,000

♦ Bringing 5 to 45 kg into state - felony Incarceration 10 years Fine $10,000

♦ Bringing 45 kg or more into state - felony Incarceration 25 years Fine $50,000

*Mandatory minimum sentence

Miscellaneous (paraphernalia, license suspensions, drug tax stamps, etc...)

♦ Paraphernalia possesion, use, sale, or advertising (first offense) - misdemeanor Incarceration none Fine $500

♦ Paraphernalia possession or sale (second and subsequent offense) -
misdemeanor or felony Incarceration 2 years Fine $2,000

♦ Any second or subsequent conviction can double first offense penalty.


Possession or use of any amount of marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Cultivation, delivery or sale of less than 50 pounds of marijuana is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. For 50 pounds or more, the penalties increase to a five-year mandatory minimum sentence and a fine of up to $100,000. If the sale occurs within 1,000 feet of a school, while the school is in session, or on a school bus, the penalty is up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

Bringing 5 - 45 kilograms of marijuana into the state is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Transporting 45 kilograms or more into the state is punishable by up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Possession, use or sale of paraphernalia is a criminal fine of $500 for the first offense. For a second or subsequent offense, the penalties increase to a term of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

For any second or subsequent conviction, the sentence may double from that for a first offense.

Mandatory minimum sentence: When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher
sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to "life MMS" must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Medical marijuana: This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective.

Hemp: This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),
the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other product.

Warning: The information contained in this report is for informational purposes only. Individuals are encouraged to confirm their state's laws before engaging in any particular behavior, or before going to court without a lawyer. Marijuana laws and penalties change rapidly and are enforced and interpreted differently even in the same legal jurisdiction. Please consult a criminal defense lawyer if you have been busted or if you want to know how a particular conduct might be punished. If you spot an error or have information that should be included please let us know.

Source: NORML

Be informed and be well.
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New Member
Maryland successfully passed decriminalization this past April for possession of 10 grams or less. Law active: October 1st, 2014.

Also, the Maryland MMJ law has been completely revamped and signed into law since this post. I would suggest folks do research for the latest info. (some details of the MMJ program are still in flux)

David Bowman

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Senate Bill 923 and House Bill 881, signed into law by Governor O’Malley on April 14, 2014, will significantly change the medical marijuana program being implemented by the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission. The Commission is in the process of promulgating regulations to implement these changes.

Here is the current status of Maryland's laws regarding cannabis and areas of improvement -


See Maryland: Medical Marijuana Law Overview and State Fines/Penalties for more up to date information regarding state laws and penalties.
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