Survey of Marijuana Laws & Penalties in Maryland
Outside of narrowly constructed exceptions, it a criminal offense to possess or distribute marijuana in the State of Maryland. Any person who disregards these laws can face incarceration and steep monetary fines. But the exact nature of the criminal penalties fluctuates based on the type of offense, quantity of marijuana in question, and number of past offenses, if any.
Possession of Marijuana
Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 5-601 makes it unlawful to possess marijuana without a valid prescription. It is also illegal to obtain, or attempt to obtain, marijuana by fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. This includes the use of altered or forged doctor prescriptions for medical marijuana.
Section 5-601 also establishes the penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana. Depending on the amount of marijuana in question — and number of previous offenses, if any — the offender can face different penalties. For example, any first-time offender who violates Section 5-601 with respect to:
- Less than 10 grams of marijuana — Is guilty of a civil offense and subject to a maximum of $100 in fines;
- Between 10 grams and 50 pounds — Is guilty of a misdemeanor offense and subject to one year in jail as well as a maximum of $1,000 in fines; or
- More than 50 pounds — Is guilty of a felony crime and subject to five years in prison as well as a maximum of $100,000 in fines.
That being said, repeat offenders face an even more stringent punishment structure under Maryland law. This is true regardless of the amount of marijuana in question. Though as with first-time offenders, possession of smaller amounts will result in lesser penalties for repeat offenders.
Distribution of Marijuana
Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 5-602 makes it unlawful to distribute or dispense marijuana. Under this section, it is also illegal to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute or dispense. If a person possesses a large enough quantity of marijuana, the intent to distribute can be inferred, even if that person did not even attempt a distribution crime.
The standard penalty for marijuana distribution or possession with intent to distribute appears under Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 5-607. At a minimum, offenders are guilty of a felony crime and subject to five years in prison as well as a maximum $15,000 in fines.
On the other hand, distribution crimes involving at least 50 pounds result in a more serious punishment under Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 5-612. In these situations, the offender is guilty of a felony crime and subject to five years in prison as well as a maximum of $100,000 in fines.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about marijuana possession or distribution crimes under Maryland law, it can be exceedingly valuable to contact a seasoned Baltimore criminal defense lawyer. The lawyers at Iamele & Iamele, LLP have the skill and knowledge required to defend against various criminal charges, including possession or distribution of marijuana. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.