Maryland’s New Marijuana Law. Did you get a ticket? Under 10 Grams? You Are Not Alone.
As most of you are aware, there are substantial changes being made to marijuana laws across the country. People are wising up as the the stupidity of incarceration for personal use amounts of marijuana. With the extreme overcrowding of our prisons, this makes a lot of sense.
Maryland is no different. Per the newest legislation, Possession of Marijuana Under 10 Grams is now a civil infraction. The civil infraction carries a fine of up to $100.00 and no jail time. A second offense is $250 and third is $500. Md. Code 5-601.1.
Maryland is getting smart right? Well, if you are reading this blog post there is a good chance that you or your friend has gotten a marijuana ticket for possession under 10 grams. It seems the legislature has gotten it right with decriminalization, but the cops are writing tickets under this new law at a break neck speed!
Our firm has noticed a spike in clients seeking our service for the new ‘under 10 grams” tickets. What we have also noticed is that many times these clients have no criminal history and are being harassed unnecessarily and being treated as if they are criminals. This isn’t right and we are fighting back on behalf of our clients.
Will this go on my record? Well, per the new law, the ticket is not supposed to show up on Maryland Case Search. Additionally, it isn’t considered a crime, only a civil infraction. Therefore, if an employer asks if you have been convicted of a crime, you can say no. However, for many people, specifically those wanting clearance for government work, there are unanswered questions as to how a citation admission under this statute will affect employment. There are some employers who will deny employment if you do as much as admit to possessing or smoking marijuana.
Can they pull me over for just the smell of marijuana now? We believe the answer is no. We are currently challenging any stops that are solely based on the smell of marijuana. The logic goes like this. For now, until we get some decisions from the courts, cops can attempt to get probable cause based on the smell of marijuana because the smell of marijuana could lead to finding actual marijuana in the car. Up and until the new legislation, possession of marijuana in any amount was a criminal offense. Now, not every marijuana case is criminal. Therefore, a cop could now smell marijuana and it would not necessarily mean that a search of the vehicle would lead to them finding evidence of a crime. Got it? Unfortunately, the issue has not been litigated at our highest courts yet. We are fighting “smell” as probable cause to pull our clients over. Two other states have had their appeals court demand now a “smell + standard.” As a result, in these two states, the police would need something more than just smell of pot to get into someones car and search. See Arizona and Massachusetts .
We would be glad to help you with your marijuana ticket or any other criminal case.
Give us a call for a free consult at 301.513.7832.