Maryland voters have decided to legalize recreational marijuana in the state

Maryland will now follow in the footsteps of D.C. and Virginia as lawmakers begin to look into taxing and regulating marijuana.

The ballot referendum passing means those who were arrested for possessing the drug could soon have their record expunged. 

The companion bill legalizes possession of up to 1.5 ounces. It also would remove criminal penalties of up to 2.5 ounces and create a civil citation. Existing laws on marijuana possession would apply to possession of more than 2.5 ounces.

Maryland also plans to study the impact of marijuana on public health and disparities.

Opponents of the legalization movement in Maryland questioned if Democrats were pushing marijuana ballot questions to get more people to the polls and say the rush to legalize is moving too quickly.

Supporters say recreational marijuana tax revenue would be good for the state. Maryland's medicinal marijuana industry has done $388 million in sales in 2022, and experts say recreational tax revenue may generate $500 million a year.