Maryland’s penalties for charges involving marijuana vary in severity based off several factors. Charges can include fines and even jail time. If charged with a marijuana offense in the State of Maryland, it is best to seek advice from a Maryland criminal attorney to make sure your rights are represented correctly.

Marijuana Laws in Maryland

Simple possession, possession with intent to distribute, selling cannabis to children or using them to distribute it, functioning as a drug king pin, or using marijuana paraphernalia all have significant consequences in the state of Maryland. Mandatory minimum sentences apply in some cases. Medical necessity can reduce, and with the passing of new in-the-works bill, eliminate charges.

Simple Possession

Maryland residents charged with possessing or using marijuana personally, but with no intent to traffic the drug, will face misdemeanor penalties if convicted. Specifically, the possession of 10 grams or less can incur a 90 day jail sentence along with a $500 fine. If the amount involved exceeds 10 grams but is less than 50 lbs, the fine is doubled and the prison time can be as long as a full year. While less severe than many other marijuana-related sentences, the punishments are sufficient to merit the defendant’s full concern and to motivate him or her to seek legal help.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Those found guilty of with not only possessing, but of planning to sell or otherwise o distribute this drug can be charged with a felony regardless of amount of marijuana involved. However, if within a 90 day period a person distributed over 50 lbs of the drug, a five year prison term is required, whereas an amount less than 50 lbs would only be a matter of up to five years. Repeat offenses of 50 lbs plus cannot be plea bargained below a two year jail stay- for there is a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in such cases.


Trafficking violations also can enter a realm of aggravated offense, and the laws become more complicated and severe in such cases. A person found to have trafficked over 45 kgs. into the state can see as much as 25 years and a fine as high as $50,000. Bringing more than 5 but less than 45 kgs. into Maryland can see a sentence of up to 10 years with a $10,000 fine. Those caught with a gun in their possession while in the act of marijuana trafficking face from five to 20 years for a first time offense and from 10 to 20 years for repeat offenses.

Charges when Children are Involved

If one has sold the drug to a minor at least three years under his own age, eight years and a $15,000 fine are permissible. Using a minor as a means of distribution or manufacture, etc. carries a prison term as long as 20 years and a fine as stiff as $20,000.

Infractions occuring inside a school bus or other school vehicle or within 1,000 feet of grade or high school are punishable by two to five years and $40,000- and each repeat offense incurs five to 40 years and another $40,000.

Drug “King-Pin” Penalties

If determined to be an organizer, manager, or financial supporter of a conspiracy to deal illegally in marijuana trafficking within the state of Maryland, one can be labelled a “drug king pin” provided more than 50 lbs was dealt in. Such can face 20 to 40 years imprisonment without parole and a million dollar fine.

Laws Relating to Cannabis Paraphernalia

Most items used in the cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of marijuana are legally termed paraphernalia, though rolling paper and blunt wraps are excluded. Advertising such paraphernalia can led to a $500 fine. Repeat offenses can see $2,000 and two years behind bars as a sentence. Possessing paraphernalia carries one year and $1,000. Selling it incurs two years and $2,000.

Cultivation and Hash Products

Cultivation is treated the same as simple possession in Maryland unless there is reason to believe that the intent was to sell the drug upon harvest, in which case it is equivalent to possession with intent to distribute. Hash and marijuana products are treated in Maryland in the same way as the simple drug itself.

Mandatory Minimums

If the law dictates a mandatory minimum sentence (MMS), then the judge has no power to sentence at all less than that requirement, excluding all plea possibilities below that set standard, though allowing room for negotiations and taking into account other circumstances in determining where between the minimum and maximum the defendant may be sentenced. No parole is allowed in mandatory minimum sentences (MMS). Repeat offenders, those distributing near schools, those dealing in large amounts of cannabis, drug “king-pins”, and those using a firearm while trafficking marijuana can face an MMS.

Medical Necessity Defenses

Maryland allows a defense based on the medical necessity of taking the drug, but still imposes a $100 fine and counts it as a misdemeanor. A new bill that seems likely to soon become law, however, would eliminate those penalties when medical necessity is confirmed. Marijuana is thought to reduce pain and spasms, stimulate a tepid appetite, and protect against certain tumors, among other things.

How we can help you

Being charged with a marijuana related offense can carry serious penalties. These charges range in severity depending on the type of charge. If you are facing a charge involving marijuana, it is essential to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you. Hiring legal representation ensures your rights are protected. 

Have You Been Arrested With Drug possession And Intent To Distribute In Virgina, Maryland or Washington D.C.?

If you'be been arrested for drug possession with intent to distribute you need to speak with an experienced drug defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virginia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to sechdule your case consultation. 

Yuvora Nong
Helping VA, MD & Washington D.C. clients with all of their immigration law legal needs since 1997.