March 3rd, 2017 by WCBC Radio
Supporters and detractors alike gathered in Annapolis to testify about two marijuana legalization bills being heard by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Thursday afternoon. Sen. Brian Feldman, D-Montgomery, is sponsoring a proposed referendum on an amendment to the state’s constitution and Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr., D-Montgomery, is sponsoring a bill that would legalize marijuana, and specify how it will be taxed. Both the constitutional amendment and Madaleno’s bill would allow for the legalization of the use, possession, transportation, sale and cultivation of marijuana in the state.
Feldman’s referendum, if voters approve it, would allow an individual to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, while Madaleno’s allows for one ounce of marijuana but offers different amounts for different forms, such as edibles or creams, of the drug.
State analysts said they believe that Madaleno’s bill legalizing and taxing marijuana would provide at least an additional $49 million in annual tax revenues for the state. There would be an initial cost of about $2.1 million to implement the legalization of the drug.
Feldman’s measure does not define how the taxes will be collected, however the revenue raised must be spent on public school education, construction and capital improvement, substance abuse treatment and prevention, mental health services and recidivism, reduction and reentry services.