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Bill Ending Jail Time For Pot Possession Expected To Pass Maryland Senate

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The law before the Maryland Senate would eliminate jail time for possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana.
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The law before the Maryland Senate would eliminate jail time for possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana.

The Maryland State Senate is expected to vote today on a bill the would loosen restrictions on pot smokers.

Senate Bill 297 would decriminalize possession of up to one-third of an ounce of marijuana — that's about 10 grams. It would also eliminate the maximum 90-day jail time for possession, and it would also reduce the fine from $500 to $100.

The Maryland House of Delegates would consider the bill next if it passes the Senate vote, as expected today. The House is also looking at a measure to legalize medical marijuana, which garnered support from the administration of Governor Martin O'Malley.

But the House is very busy with the governor's gun control legislation package and may not have enough time to address the marijuana bills.

Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana last year, doing so via voter referendum. According to the advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project, as many as 23 states have drafted bills to legalize medical marijuana, weaken penalties or imposing taxes on its use.

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