MARYLAND

Md. Senate hears marijuana decriminalization bill

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Some Maryland lawmakers want to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana to save money.

The state Senate advanced a measure on Wednesday that would eliminate jail time for possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana.

If passed, those caught with small amounts of marijuana would face a $100 fine in civil court.

Under current law, a person holding less than 10 grams of marijuana could face up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The bill's sponsor, Baltimore County Democrat Sen. Bobby Zirkin, says the measure would save the state money by relieving the strain such crimes put on the criminal justice system.

The legislation drew concern from Sen. E.J. Pipkin, a Cecil County Republican, who worries that the measure could increase drug use among young people.

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