By Marc Emden, Esq.

Starting on October 1, 2014 possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana won’t subject you to arrest or criminal charges for the first time in the modern history of the State of Maryland. Possession is now considered a civil offense, which means it will not appear in the public database, and will not have to be disclosed on job applications and other documentation requiring disclosure of criminal history.

Fines for violators will be $50 for the first offense and $125 for the second. The fine amount for third and subsequent offenses is not defined, allowing the court to determine the fine at trial.

As the new law goes into effect, local police will have another reason to step up enforcement of the DUI laws. Driving while under the influence of marijuana remains a crime. In addition, possession of paraphernalia remains a crime.

While the new law is clear on possession of marijuana, its effect on other laws, such as those relating to DUIs, medical marijuana, smoking in public, possession on school grounds, etc. remains unclear. So we here at EmdenLaw urge you to exercise caution, and remind you that smoking marijuana has other negative effects besides a simple fine.