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Lawmaker wants Marylanders to vote on marijuana legalization in 2022

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A top Maryland Democrat has voiced her support for putting cannabis legalization on the ballot, though the question wouldn’t go before voters until 2022.

House Speaker Adrienne Jones on Friday announced that she backs a referendum to legalize the drug and will form a workgroup to study needed changes to state laws.

“While I have personal concerns about encouraging marijuana use, particularly among children and young adults, the disparate criminal justice impact leads me to believe that the voters should have a say in the future of legalization,” Jones said in a statement.

Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones, left, and Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson stand in front of a joint session of the legislature before Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, not pictured, delivers his annual State of the State address in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.

“The House will pass legislation early next year to put this question before the voters but we need to start looking at changes needed to state law now,” she said.

The workgroup will develop a regulatory system, work to ensure equitable ownership in the cannabis industry and examine changes to the criminal justice system, such as expungements for previous marijuana convictions.

The announcement comes months after the General Assembly failed to pass a cannabis legalization bill during the 2021 legislative session in Annapolis.

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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service