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Marijuana: How much is too much?

As a Maryland college student, you probably have more than a passing acquaintance with marijuana. While public perception of this drug and its effects on young people has changed significantly over the years, you nevertheless need to keep in mind that marijuana possession is still prohibited in Maryland.

The good news is that if law enforcement officers catch you with no more than 10 grams of marijuana, at least this is not a crime. You do, however, face paying a $100 fine if this is your first conviction. The fine increases to $250 on your second conviction, and could be as high as $500 for your third and subsequent convictions. In addition, if you are a minor under 21 years of age, the court will require you to submit to a clinical substance abuse assessment and complete a drug education program.

Possessing larger quantities

If law enforcement officers catch you possessing marijuana weighing more than 10 grams, now you do face criminal arrest and prosecution. If convicted, you could spend one year in jail and pay a $1,000 fine.

Likelihood of being caught

While it is highly unlikely that law enforcement officers will raid your home, apartment or dorm room in a search for drugs, the same cannot be said for when you are driving. Sadly, you have a target on your back when you drive, particularly if you drive a “hot” car. Getting pulled over for suspected alcohol or drug usage is an all too common occurrence in college towns.

It goes without saying that you take your life and your freedom in your hands if you choose to drive after consuming alcohol or drugs. Both are illegal in Maryland, and the penalties are quite severe if prosecutors convict you of DUI or a related crime. Again, this is particularly so if you are not yet 21 years old.

Long-range consequences

While partying is a normal part of college life and no one expects you to spend four or more years with your nose stuck in a book, also keep in mind that one of the purposes of a college education is to teach you how to be a responsible adult. How you choose to go about learning that lesson is of course up to you.

However, in this day and age where finding a high-paying job after you graduate is not at all assured, regardless of your GPA, you would do well to remember that an alcohol or drug conviction while in college may haunt you for years. It could be the one thing that causes potential employers to hire another applicant rather than you. Is that a risk you are willing to take?

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The Law Office of Ronald L. Schwartz
4907 Niagara Road Suite 103
College Park, MD 20740

Phone: 301-892-3410
Fax: 301-474-6607
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