Maryland and Missouri legalize cannabis

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Voters in Maryland and Missouri on Tuesday approved a referendum to legalize cannabis in the state. The 2 states become the 20 and 21 US states to legalize cannabis.

Now that the measures have been approved by voters, there remains the implementation of basic regulations for the adult cannabis program.

For Maryland, the purchase and possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis (42 grams) will be legal for adults. The legislation will also remove criminal penalties for possession of up to 2.5 ounces. Adults 21 and older will be allowed to grow up to two plants for personal use and gift cannabis without compensation.

Previous convictions for behaviors made legal by the proposed law will automatically be expunged, and people currently in prison for such offenses will be eligible for a new conviction. The legislation provides that those convicted of possession with intent to distribute cannabis can apply to the courts for a redaction three years after serving their sentence.

In Missouri, adults 21 and older will be able to purchase and possess up to three ounces of cannabis.

They will also be able to cultivate up to six flowering cannabis plants, six immature plants and six clones if they obtain a registration card.

The initiative will impose a 6% tax on recreational cannabis sales and use the proceeds to facilitate the automatic expungement of individuals whose criminal records include certain non-violent cannabis-related offenses.

The rest of the proceeds will go towards veterans’ health care, addiction treatment and the state’s public defense system.

Regulators will be required to issue at least 144 micro-business licenses through a lottery system, with priority given to low-income applicants and people who have been disproportionately affected by drug criminalization.

Existing medical cannabis dispensaries will also be the first to be able to begin serving adult consumers with a dual license.

Arkansas and North and South Dakota have rejected legalization initiatives. 5 cities in Texas have approved proposals to decriminalize cannabis.

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