Marijuana possession in Maryland can be costly. Fines are harsh and many offenses come with Minimum Mandatory Sentences. Citizens of Maryland should be aware of these penalties and, because a lot of people cross Maryland – to and from New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and the District of Columbia – there’s a lot at risk by a lot of people.
Marijuana Possession in Maryland: The Basics
The possession of marijuana for personal use is measured as follows:
|10 grams or less||misdemeanor||90 days||$500|
|10 grams to 50 lbs.||misdemeanor||1 year||$1,000|
The possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute is measured as follows:
|Less than 50 lbs.||felony||5 years||$15,000|
|More than 50 lbs.||felony||5 years*||$15,000|
|More than 50 lbs. Kingpin**||felony||20-40 years||$1,000,000|
* Subsequent event requires a mandatory minimum 2-year sentence.
** A Kingpin is an organizer, financier, supervisor, or manager who is a conspirator or co-conspirator in the manufacture, distribution, or transportation into Maryland.
There is a special penalty for possession in a school vehicle or in, on, or within 1,000 feet of an elementary school. These instances are considered felonies and can result in 2-5 years in prison and $40,000 in fines.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Marijuana possession in Maryland can meet with the following mandatory minimum penalties:
- 2 years for convictions of possession to distribute on 2 or more occasions
- 5 years for repeat offenders convicted of intent to distribute within 1,000-ft. of a school on 3 or more occasions.
- 5 years for conviction of possession of 50 lbs or more, including acts of possession within the previous 90 days.
There are also penalties for trafficking, cultivation, and possession of paraphernalia as opposed to simple possession. All Maryland penalties are currently under review by the state legislature.
Other Factors Impacting Sentencing for Marijuana Possession
A review of recent cases in Maryland’s Criminal Courts shows that other factors can and will be considered in sentencing:
- Your Criminal Record can help or hurt if it is evidence of first offense or repeated offense.
- Sale to minors or at a school, playground, park, or other community location will increase the punishment.
- If possession is evidence of Driving Under the Influence, it will enhance the penalty.
In Maryland, marijuana is considered a controlled dangerous substance. The concept of possession may either be “actual” or “constructive.”Actual means the drugs are located on your person. Constructive means you have knowledge of the drug’s existence and the ability to exercise control over it – even though it is not in your actual possession.
What To Do If You Are Arrested for Marijuana Possession?
Arrested, disrespected, and shuffled through the system – an arrest for marijuana possession in Maryland is not a good experience. Regardless of the circumstances of your arrest, you still have rights to defend yourself against charges that can fundamentally affect the rest of your life.
Here are our tips for what to do if you are arrested:
- Remain silent: When you are arrested, exercise your constitutional “right to remain silent.” Except for the expression of courtesies while being processed, share nothing with anyone until you can meet with your Public Defender or private attorney.
- Get out of jail: Do what you can to post the bail assigned by the court. Its worth noting that your lawyer can expedite this for you.
- Follow your lawyer’s advice: As the one who knows about marijuana possession in Maryland, your attorney will know the best course of action in your particular case. If you cannot secure your preferred attorney before arraignment, do not plead guilty.
The current Maryland penalties are significant enough to secure the advice of an attorney successfully experienced with charges of marijuana possession in Maryland. You want this off your record and your resume because it can affect your job, education, and future.