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Marijuana in Maryland: It’s legal! Starting July 1, it’s legal to possess and use small amounts of recreational cannabis in Maryland. Here’s what you need to know.
Who can buy cannabis and how much? If you’re 21 or older, you can legally carry up to 1.5 ounces of recreational cannabis. Carrying more than 1.5 ounces is illegal and may lead to a fine or jail time. Be prepared: Dispensaries will card customers to verify their age (just like liquor stores). If you’re visiting Maryland and buy cannabis here, use it here, too. It’s illegal to transport it across state lines.
Where can you use cannabis? The law permits you to use it on your private property and inside your home. If you rent, check with your landlord, because they have the final say about smoking on their property.
You can’t use cannabis inside public buildings, bars and restaurants. You can’t use cannabis inside a parked car on public property. You can’t use cannabis in a vehicle at all, whether you’re the driver or a passenger. You can’t use cannabis when you’re in an outdoor public space, either. Forget about bringing a blunt or an edible on your walk around the block or in the park.
What about driving after using cannabis? Just like with alcohol, it is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis, and police can pull you over if they suspect that you're under the influence. But police can’t stop or search a person or vehicle solely because of cannabis odor.
What if you have a medical card? Don’t fear: The medical cannabis program will continue. Recreational customers pay 9% tax, medical customers pay none. Dispensaries can sell to both kinds of customers, but will prioritize medical customers by maintaining stock for them and expediting the shopping process with special hours or an express lane.
How will this affect your workplace? Think of cannabis like you would alcohol — just because it’s legal doesn’t mean you can smoke or be under the influence on the job. mployers can still test for cannabis, and the new law doesn’t protect employees who test positive. Double check your employer’s substance policy and keep in mind that cannabis can stay in your system for a long time.
What if you work for the U.S. government? If you’re a federal employee living in Maryland and like to use cannabis, you’re out of luck.  Cannabis is still illegal under federal law, which governs all federal agency and government jobs. Under federal policy you cannot test positive for cannabis. You risk losing your job if you do.
What about growing your own? Under the new law, medical cardholders can grow four plants per household; recreational users can grow two plants per household. Make sure the plants are out of public sight, and ask your landlord for permission if you rent. Lastly, if you’re not a cannabis smoker and detect that skunk smell wafting in, you’ll have to chat with your neighbors, not the police. There is nothing illegal about cannabis odor.

laila.milevski@thebaltimorebanner.com

brenda.wintrode@thebaltimorebanner.com

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