ANNAPOLIS — In this week’s legislative digest, a bill that would require employers to give employees paid sick leave is on the move as is an effort to recriminalize marijuana. In addition, Governor Larry Hogan finally makes his feelings known about Donald Trump.
Legislation to recriminalize using marijuana in public won approval in the House of Delegates this week by a 102-36 vote, but the bill is expected to have a much more uphill battle in the Senate.
The House bill, which was introduced by Delegate Brett R. Wilson (R-Washington County), is a response to a bill that decriminalized the possession of marijuana paraphernalia last year. Two years ago, possession of small amounts of marijuana was decriminalized.
Wilson’s bill would make using marijuana in public a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500. Currently, using pot in public is illegal, but it is punished by a civil citation rather than a criminal one.
“It’s an issue that’s good for our children, for families and for outdoor spaces,” said Wilson. “The civil citation regime will not work. It’s very difficult for police to do anything to enforce laws when it comes to civil citations.”
Yet, if a version of the bill passes in the Senate, the language might be slightly different than the House bill, focusing on criminal sanctions for using pot in public and while driving, and could raise the decriminalization limit for possession above 10 grams.