Eighteen states have already passed laws okaying medical marijuana, and two more — Colorado and Washington — have effectively legalizing the possession of small amounts of the drug. A recent poll (paid for by the ACLU but conducted by the non-partisan Public Policy Polling) showed that 72 percent of Marylanders support medical marijuana, and 53 percent are in favor of outright legalization (within limits). So did PPP just happen to call up a bunch of potheads, or is Maryland poised to be the next Amsterdam?
No, not really. Alas for Maryland’s THC fans, it looks like the state’s path to a more liberal marijuana policy will be a slow one. Back in May, Martin O’Malley finally signed a bill allowing a medical marijuana program to move forward, something he’d hesitated about in the past. (Perhaps because of those presidential ambitions?) In any case, the new law is much stricter than those in, say, California: the distribution of the drug will be hospital-based, and will be restricted to a small number of qualified medical centers. And even that won’t start happening until 2016 at the earliest.
Meanwhile, Marylanders seem to be growing increasingly pro-pot: in a survey conducted just two years ago, 57 percent supported decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of the drug; by 2013, that number had grown to 68 percent of those surveyed. That makes marijuana more popular than gay marriage, Obamacare, or the war in Iraq. Whether this will translate into more liberal policies on the drug, however, remains to be seen.