The Marijuana Control Act of 2014 would:
- make the personal use, possession, and limited home-growing of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older;
- establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol; and
- allow for the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp.
Specifically, the bills would remove all legal penalties for personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and for the home-growing of up to six marijuana plants (three of which may be mature) in an enclosed, secure space. Adults 21 and older could also possess the marijuana harvested from their plants at the location where they were grown. No landlord would have to allow cultivation or marijuana smoking on rented property, and the public smoking of marijuana would remain illegal.
The legislation directs the Comptroller to develop regulations and licensing for four types of state-legal marijuana businesses — retail stores, cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturers, and testing facilities. Localities would have the right to regulate time, place, and manner, as well as provide input on licensing, which would be granted substantial weight. No more than one retailer for every 20,000 residents would be allowed, except that every county would have at least two retailers. Local governments could further restrict the number of marijuana businesses, as long as they were not completely prohibited.
The Comptroller would be required to develop regulations restricting advertising, regulating the use of pesticides, and establishing security standards. Marijuana businesses would have to be at least 1,000 feet away from schools and typically could not allow anyone under 21 to enter.
The Marijuana Control Act of 2014 would impose an excise tax of $50 per ounce on the sale of marijuana by a cultivation facility, which would generate an estimated $91.3 million per year. The tax rate may be adjusted for inflation or deflation, based on the Consumer Price Index. The first $5 million of revenue raised annually would be directed towards drug addiction treatment and education.