Weird Laws in Maryland
Maryland is a wonderful state. Located in the mid-Atlantic states, Maryland is a crossroads between the traditional North and South in the US. In the metropolitan Baltimore and Washington areas, you can find a vast array of businesses and services from around the world reflecting one of the most diverse populations in the country. Outside the cities and suburbs Maryland has some of the most beautiful horse country, mountain terrain, verdant farm lands, and unique historical sites to be found anywhere in America. From the small fishing villages and resorts on the Chesapeake Bay in the east to the mountains and rich history surrounding Harper’s Ferry in the west, Maryland has much to offer.
Maryland, also known as the “Free State,” was formed in the early 17th century by George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. It is also known as the birthplace of religious freedom in North America. One of the reasons Calvert established the colony was to provide British Catholics, who were persecuted in England, a place to worship freely.
The colony of Maryland became the State of Maryland when its representatives signed the Constitution in 1781. In 1790, Maryland, along with the state of Virginia, donated land for the formation of the nation’s capital at Washington, D.C.
Like most states, Maryland has some very archaic laws on its book. These laws have been in effect in Maryland for decades, if not centuries, and, for whatever reason, have never been rescinded.
Let’s take a look at some of these weird laws in Maryland:
- Eating while swimming in the ocean is strictly prohibited in Maryland. Unless, of course, you’re a fish.
- It is against the law to play professional croquet or quoits before 2 PM on Sundays. So if you’re a quoit ringer, you have to wait till late afternoon on Sundays to go to work.
- In Ocean City, Maryland, it’s illegal for men to walk topless on the Boardwalk. Considering what most men look like topless, I don’t think there will be much of a rush to change this one.
- Halethrope has a rule that prohibits kisses lasting for more than one second. Halethrope is also at the forefront of many abstinence-based birth control studies.
- Caroline County has banned “forecasting or pretending to tell the future.” The penalty is six months in jail and/or a $100 fine. Wouldn’t you think fortune tellers could see a police bust in their future and avoid it?
- Alcohol beverage critics in Maryland must be certified as drinking experts by a state agency. After certification, they are permitted to receive samples, but are limited to no more than three bottles of any single brand. Send me three bottles of booze and I’ll write nice things as well. After my hangover goes away, of course.
- It’s against the law in Maryland for a man to buy a drink for a female bartender. However, it says nothing about female impersonator bartenders.
- Thistles cannot be grown anywhere in Maryland. And this has caused potential growers of thistles to bristle and whistle at the epistle from which there is no dismissal when it comes to growing thistle.
- Oral sex is strictly prohibited in Maryland. Just saying……
- You cannot buy condoms from a vending machine unless it is located in an establishment that sells alcoholic beverages for consumption on-site. Beer goggles, however, which probably should be strictly controlled, are exempt from any kind of restrictions.
Baltimore has its own special list of weird laws:
- It’s illegal to throw bales of hay from second story windows. No mention was made of first or third stories.
- You cannot be in a public park in a sleeveless shirt. “Vagrants” and “tramps” are prohibited from loitering in city parks. Vagrants and tramps in sleeveless shirts are allowed to visit the zoo, however.
- Spitting on the roadway is permitted. Spitting on the sidewalk is not.
- It’s a $1 fine for blocking a sidewalk with a box.
- Seafood restaurants in Baltimore must be recycle oyster shells. The shells are used to restore oyster beds in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay which has been ravaged by years of over-harvesting.
- Washing or scrubbing a sink is banned no matter how dirty the sink has become.
- There is no cursing is allowed within the city limits, damn it!
- In Rockville, they take their swearing even more seriously. It is against the law to curse in public, even in your own car. If you get ratted out or heard by a cop, you could face a $100 fine and up to ninety days in jail. That should help prevent road rage in Rockville. Yeah, right.
- Also in Rockville, city statutes say that citizens cannot swim or bathe in city fountains. I imagine that’s not a big deal as most citizens in Maryland do have their own bath tubs these days.
Maryland isn’t the only state with really strange laws on its books – in New Jersey, it’s illegal for a man to knit during fishing season and mourners attending a wake in Massachusetts are prohibited from eating more than three sandwiches. It always pays to know the obscure rules wherever you go. Despite some weird laws in Maryland, they do have some of the best law schools in the country.
And, in closing, remember: it is strictly forbidden take a lion to a movie in Baltimore, Maryland. Even if it’s an MGM movie.