Drug policy of Maryland
As of July 2011, the sales tax for purchasing alcohol in Maryland is 9 percent. According to Ex-Governor Martin O'Malley, the tax increase is intended to raise $85 million for state programs.
Businesses that operate in the state of Maryland have certain requirements if they serve alcohol. Any employee that handles alcohol must be at least 18 years of age. Bartenders and restaurant servers also have the responsibility of monitoring their customers' alcohol consumption in order to help prevent drunk driving. If the bartender or server is shown to have known and purposefully neglected this responsibility, the employee can be held criminally responsible. They are also required to verify the age of those purchasing alcohol, to ensure consumers are of the legal age. As of right now, the minimum legal age to purchase alcohol in Maryland is 21.
It is against the law to misrepresent one's age by using another's ID or a fake ID. The penalties for this include:
- fines of up to $2,000,
- imprisonment of up to 3 years, and
- suspension or revocation of one's driver's license.
If the violator is under the age of 18, she or he may be required to attend a supervised work or alcohol rehabilitation program, and the violator's guardian(s) may be asked to withdraw consent for the violator to hold a license.
Drinking and Driving
When a prospective driver is given a license in the state of Maryland, she/he is required to sign an agreement to submit to a BAC (blood alcohol content) test if asked by a police officer. Refusal to take the test results in a 120-day suspension of the offender's license. If the offender is detained a second time, and again refuses to take a BAC test, an automatic one-year suspension of the offender's license goes into effect.
Driving drunk is punished with fines, license suspension, and jail time. The penalties vary depending on the circumstances.
If the offender is under the age of 21 and shown to have a blood alcohol level of .02% or higher, the offender's license may be revoked or suspended and the offender may face a fine of up to $500.
The legal BAC limit for anyone over the age of 21 is .08%, in which case the driver may be charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated). If the offender is driving with a blood alcohol content of .04-.08%, she/he can be cited for DUI (driving under the influence). If the offender is considered to be intoxicated, the penalties are as follows:
- a 45-day license suspension for the first offense,
- a 90-day license suspension for the second offense, or
- loss of driving privileges.
If the offender is transporting a minor at the time, the offender may face a fine of up to $4,000 and a prison sentence of up to four years.
A medical necessity defense is available for medical cannabis cases under a law passed in 2003. The state has some mandatory minimum sentences in place. Currently, the state permits a defendant to prove that she/he is using cannabis for medical reasons, in which case there is a maximum penalty of $100.
However, there is discussion to change the current Maryland law to permit medical cannabis possession and use after filing an application. Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley says that he will veto the bill if it is passed in the legislature. O'Malley is said to take this position because he fears that, due to the current federal law prohibiting all possession and use of marijuana, state employees involved in its processing might be subject to arrests.