Commissioner Mark Anderson introduced an ordinance, February 24, which would change Queen Anne’s County Criminal Law to criminalize the sale of marijuana related items, including magazines, to minors.
If passed, those convicted could face up to 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine, or both.
Commissioner Anderson stated that over the past several months concerns were raised at the Queen Anne’s County Drug and Alcohol Commission regarding newsstands offering marijuana magazines within view and reach of minors. These magazines encourage the use of an illegal substance, show where to get seeds and how to grow the plants.
Anderson said, “Having these items promoting illegal acts and use openly displayed and available for sale gives a wrong message to children. It will encourage bad judgment that could lead to serious legal difficulty and a criminal record to follow a child into adulthood.”
Chairperson of Queen Anne’s County Drug Free Coalition, Warren Wright, said “This matter came to the Drug Free Coalition in November of last year. We have communicated several times with the Queen Anne’s businesses that might sell this stuff, and with their corporate headquarters. When we checked again in January we were happy to report that most outlets had moved the magazines or stopped selling them altogether. However, there are a very few who do not share our concern, and still sell them where they are accessible to children. We are fortunate that Commissioner Anderson proposed this ordinance. It may seem like a small thing, but the citizens of Queen Anne’s County are serious about helping our kids be drug free. They do not need to see High Times or Weed World.”
If adopted, the new Article IV to be added to the Code of Public Local Laws of Queen Anne’s County would read as follows, “A person may not knowingly sell or offer to sell to a minor any book, magazine, paperback, pamphlet or other written or printed material, however reproduced which contains advice, instructions, advertising or promotion regarding the cultivation, storage, propagation or consumption of marijuana or which offers for sale merchandise, products or materials to facilitate the cultivation, storage, propagation or consumption of marijuana.”
It would also be illegal to display marijuana-related items for advertising purposes. “A person may not knowingly display for advertising purposes material which promotes the cultivation, storage, propagation or consumption of marijuana, nor permit or allow such display on premises that the person owns, rents or manages. A person who violates Section 13-14 or 13-15 of this Chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $1,000.00 or both.”
“These magazines are catalogues for seeds, growing bins, grow lights and other drug paraphernalia and are currently displayed in view of and accessible to minors,” said Anderson. “They are an invitation to bad judgment that could mar a child for life. It would be better to have these drug culture information sources behind the counters available for sale to adults and out of the hands of children”
The ordinance is scheduled for a public hearing during the commissioners’ March 24 meeting. The public is invited to comment at the hearing. The commissioners can vote on the proposed ordinance any time after the hearing; however, it has been the practice of this board of commissioners not to vote on any ordinances on the same day as the hearing to give the public a chance to contact the board with letters or phone calls expressing their concerns and opinions.
Should the ordinance pass a commission vote, it would become law 45 days after it is adopted.