They're expected to be introduced during the 2013 General Assembly.
When the 2013 Maryland General Assembly convenes on January 9th, delegates and state senators will be dealing with legislation to ban synthetic marijuana. Frederick County Delegate Galen Clagett is having that bill drafted. His colleagues, Delegate Patrick Hogan and State Senator Ron Young, are also working on similar pieces of legislation. "That means we'll have a pow-wow to make sure all three of these bills.....all mesh and work together. We don't want to lose time horsing around with language. So it's important to have one unified bill," says Clagett.
There have been calls for legislation to ban this type of marijuana, which is now legally sold in some parts of the county. The City of Frederick, and the Towns of Thurmont and Walkersville have banned possession and sale of this substance within their corporate limits. Many retailers who sell this stuff have moved outside of these municipalities to continue legally selling it to their customers.
"The one that we put in for Frederick County will be a local bill," he says. "We hope for local courtesy on that so that it does pass. In addition to that, we've like to have a statewide bill."
The measures submitted in the House of Delegates and the State Senate will be emergency legislation, which means they will go into affect after they're passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor. Clagett says if it was submitted as a regular bill and it passed, it wouldn't take affect until October 1st. "We wanted it to take affect right away because these things are popping up in the county, these retail outlets selling this product. Our goal is to cut it off at the pass," he says.
Clagett also says these bills have a good chance of passing the General Assembly, particularly the local bill, unless it goes to the wrong committee. He sasy one of them is the House Judiciary Committee. "There are too many attorneys on that committee with too much time. A lot of laws are lost because a lot of those discussions that go on ad nauseum," Clagett says.
The fact that three municipalities in Frederick County have passed ordinances banning this stuff could benefit the bill in the General Assembly, says Clagett. He calls their actions a "catalyst."