Marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture are regulated by both state and federal law. In Maryland, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no generally recognized medical value. (Md. Ann. Code § 5-402.) However, despite being a Schedule I drug, Maryland may allow medical marijuana use under limited circumstances. And while not covered in this article, it is also a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in Maryland.
To learn about Maryland's medical marijuana laws, see Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws.
For information about charges and penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana in Maryland, see Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Maryland.
It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess any amount of marijuana Maryland (even small amounts for personal use). A violation is a misdemeanor, punishable with up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. (Md. Ann. Code § 5-601.)
Cultivation and Sale
It is illegal to knowingly cultivate marijuana plants or to sell marijuana in Maryland. Penalties vary according to the amount cultivated or sold, with additional penalties for sales in a school zone. (Md. Ann. Code §§ 5-602, 5-607, 5-608.)
- Up to 50 pounds. A violation is a felony, punishable with a fine of up to $15,00, and up to five years in prison.
- 50 pounds or more. A violation is a felony, punishable with a fine of up to $100,000 and a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.
- Sale within 1,000 feet of a school. Sales within 1,000 feet of a school or while on a school bus are illegal. A violation is a felony, punishable with a fine of up to $20,000, and a up to 20 years in prison.
Trafficking five or more kilograms of marijuana into Maryland from out of state is illegal. Amounts less than five kilograms are treated as possession for sale crimes, with penalties described above. Trafficking penalties vary according to the amount brought into state.
- Between five and 45 kilograms. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to ten years in prison, or both.
- 45 kilograms or more. Penalties include a fine of up to $50,000, up to 25 years in prison, or both.
It is a illegal in Maryland to possess, use, advertise, or sell drug paraphernalia. Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana. Penalties vary according to whether the violation is a first or subsequent offense, with additional penalties for sales to a minor. (Md. Ann. Code § 5-619.)
- First offense. Penalties for a first violation include a fine of up to $500.
- Second or subsequent offense. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000 and up to two years in prison.
- Sales to a minor. An adult who sells paraphernalia to a minor who is at least three years younger than that adult is guilty of a separate violation. Penalties include a fine of up to $15,000, up to eight years in prison, or both.
The Value of Local Legal Representation
If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.