The Baltimore City Council unanimously approved a resolution last night urging the Maryland General Assembly to pass a law that would provide a mandatory sentence of 25 years for adults who induce juveniles to join drug organizations.
Also last night, Councilman Lawrence A. Bell introduced a bill that would establish a municipal ordinance that would call for a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail for a similar offense.
Mr. Bell, a 4th District Democrat, said he sponsored both measures in honor of a Douglass High School ninth-grader who tried to stop working for a drug syndicate and was murdered.
"We have to take the profit out of using young people to sell drugs," Mr. Bell, chairman of the council's public safety subcommittee, said.
To make it unprofitable, he wants a law with teeth.
That's why Mr. Bell asked for a council resolution to be approved and sent to the Baltimore City Senate and House delegations to the General Assembly. He also enlisted the help of newly elected Del. Clarence M. Mitchell IV, who appeared at last night's council meeting, and has agreed to introduce the legislation at the state level.
Although Mr. Mitchell, who will represent West Baltimore, is a freshman delegate, he will have the support of Councilmen Perry Sfikas, D-1st, who has been elected to the state Senate, and Timothy D. Murphy, D-6th, who has been elected to the House of Delegates. Mr. Mitchell also could see a lobbying effort by concerned Baltimoreans like Mr. Bell.
"We intend to go to Annapolis and lobby very hard for this legislation," Mr. Bell said.
He said a few convictions under a tough state law would stop drug dealers from employing a new generation of ninth-graders.
lTC "If we can get a few convictions out of this kind of legislation, we can make it very clear, 'If you're involved in drugs, leave the young people alone,' " Mr. Bell said.