Maryland Governor Cites Heroin as Reason for Vetoing Cannabis Reform Bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) vetoed three bills on Friday that contained major criminal justice reforms, including one which reduced penalties related to cannabis use.

SB 517 contained legislation to reduce marijuana paraphernalia penalties to a civil offense. The governor also vetoed two other bills: SB 528, which would have limited asset forfeiture seized by police, and HB 980, which would have restored the right to vote to felons who have been released from prison.

Hogan explained in a letter to legislators that his decision to veto the bills was based on requests from Maryland police unions, including the Maryland Sheriffs’ Association and the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association. Both organizations have campaigned against legislative reforms to asset forfeiture and cannabis possession penalties.

The actual explanation given by Hogan for his veto of the cannabis reform bill bafflingly referenced heroin addiction as factor in the governor’s reasoning.


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