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Changes to the state's marijuana law may have been made with good intentions to fix a technical loophole, but the legislation leaves too many doors open and should be vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan.

Lawmakers this past session looked to erase what seemed like a contradiction when they initially decriminalized possession and use of less than 10 grams of marijuana in 2014. That law, however, didn't address paraphernalia, so it was still illegal to possess smoking materials. When lawmakers addressed that issue this year, they left open other questions, including failing to criminalize smoking in a vehicle or in public.

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Driving while under the influence or while impaired is still illegal, but State's Attorney Brian DeLeonardo noted that driving while smoking marijuana isn't a criminal offense. Likewise, while offenders could be issued a citation for smoking in public, that issue is not clearly defined in the law.

DeLeonardo told the Times that it sends mixed messages, especially to kids, because while marijuana is considered a controlled and dangerous substance, police can't arrest an adult using it in public.

Questions also have arisen concerning the use of the odor of marijuana in a vehicle as probable cause for police to search a vehicle. Defense attorneys say that with the change in the law, that would not be a valid reason for a police search. Likewise, the use of drug-sniffing dogs is questionable since the animals alert only on a drug, not what type of drug or the amount of the drug.

The legislature had good intentions when it attempted to fill a void left by the original law, but lawmakers fell short in the bill that was passed. The best thing that could happen would be for the governor to veto this version of the bill, and for lawmakers to return next year with better legislation that addresses these open questions.

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