With the legalization of recreational cannabis approaching, it is important to emphasize that it will not be a free-for-all. County Executive Marc Elrich and law enforcement are urging caution and responsible use.
Starting from July 1, cannabis dispensaries that have obtained approval from the state will be permitted to sell cannabis products for recreational use to individuals who are 21 years and older. However, it is crucial to remember that certain guidelines and restrictions still apply.
During a media briefing, Officer Jayme Derbyshire of the Montgomery County Police Department underscored the fact that individuals can still be arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis. While officers may not use odor as a reason to initiate a stop, they can observe behaviors that indicate impairment. Additionally, Officer Derbyshire highlighted the ongoing concern of the black market.
According to an infographic shared during the briefing, the legal personal use limit for cannabis is up to 1.5 ounces. Additionally, individuals are permitted to grow up to two cannabis plants per residence. However, it is essential to note that consumption is only allowed on private property and not in public spaces. Moreover, residents are advised not to transport cannabis across state lines, as it remains illegal at the federal level.
County Executive Elrich expressed his opposition to allowing dispensaries to advertise specific products, prices, or the effects of cannabis. He aims to prevent what he refers to as “predatory advertising aimed at children.” Elrich stated that cannabis is a drug, similar to cigarettes and alcohol, and glamorizing it is not the right approach. He hopes that regulations can be implemented to govern advertising practices.
Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Earl Stoddard mentioned that the majority of dispensaries in the county will likely be authorized to sell cannabis for recreational use. However, it is essential to understand that legal does not imply healthy. County Health Officer Dr. Kisha Davis noted that while there may be a few health benefits associated with medical cannabis in specific cases, there are also risks such as depression, anxiety, and lung problems. Therefore, residents are encouraged to consume cannabis responsibly, starting with lower doses.
County Executive Elrich announced that the county, in collaboration with the state cannabis administration, will launch a public education campaign over the next several months. This campaign aims to provide important information and raise awareness about the responsible use of recreational cannabis.
In conclusion, as recreational cannabis becomes legal in Maryland, it is crucial to approach its use with caution and responsibility. County officials, led by County Executive Marc Elrich, are committed to ensuring that legalization does not lead to a free-for-all situation. Through education and regulations, they aim to promote safe and responsible cannabis consumption in the county.