published Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Maryland House OKs marijuana decriminalization bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland House of Delegates has voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The House voted 78-55 on Saturday for the bill. It would eliminate criminal charges for possessing less than 10 grams.

The Senate has already approved a similar measure, but changes made by the House will require Senate approval to pass the bill before the legislative session ends midnight Monday.

The Senate had proposed a $100 penalty for every offense. The House bill raises the penalties to $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third offense.

Nina Smith, a spokeswoman for Gov. Martin O'Malley, says the Democratic governor will review the bill if it passes the General Assembly. O'Malley, a former Baltimore mayor, has expressed wariness about decriminalizing marijuana in the past.

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