ANNAPOLIS, Md.- There is a lot of debate over whether the state of Maryland should legalize marijuana to allow adults 21 years of age and older to smoke and sell the drug.
Marijuana Policy Project Manager Dan Riffle testified before the House Judiciary Committee in favor of the bill. He believes legalizing marijuana makes a lot of economic sense.
"Marijuana would be taxed at $50 an ounce and that's wholesale, so the cultivator would grow marijuana, it would then go to a wholesaler who would distribute it to retail outlets," said Riffle. "Depending on the amount consumer estimates vary but we're talking about anywhere from $80 million to $300 million in tax revenue that could come to Maryland should this bill pass."
While some say passing the marijuana bill would be a big benefit to the state, others disagree and say the negatives far out weigh the positives.
"I think it would do more harm then good, if it's all about dollars and generating tax dollars I think there is other ways of doing that," said Eric Miller of Stevensville.
"This state has become tax crazy, but no, I don't think that's valid at all," said Karen Bardwell of Grasonville.
If the bill passes, it would remain illegal to use marijuana in public or while driving. Laura Amereihn of Ridgely believes allowing it in Maryland could create more drug problems.
"I have a daughter right now that has experimented with marijuana and there are no good benefits because it just leads to more drugs, but I don't think it's a good idea," said Amereihn.
The idea of legalizing marijuana comes with it's pros and cons. With less than a month left in this year's session, the clock is ticking for state lawmakers to decide what is best.
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