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By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | April 14, 2014
Of the nearly 150 bills Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law Monday morning, one bore the name of a 5-year-old boy from South Baltimore who died in 2011 after a distracted driver chatting on his cellphone plowed into the back of Jake Owen's family car without hitting the brakes. On Monday, the little boy's family watched the governor sign what has become known as "Jake's Law" into the books, creating stiffer penalties and jail time for anyone who causes a serious or fatal car crash while texting or talking on phone.
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NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | April 14, 2014
Of the nearly 150 bills Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law Monday morning, one bore the name of a 5-year-old boy from South Baltimore who died in 2011 after a distracted driver chatting on his cellphone plowed into the back of Jake Owen's family car without hitting the brakes. On Monday, the little boy's family watched the governor sign what has become known as "Jake's Law" into the books, creating stiffer penalties and jail time for anyone who causes a serious or fatal car crash while texting or talking on phone.
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NEWS
Dan Rodricks | April 9, 2014
I declare myself underwhelmed by the "accomplishments" of the 2014 Maryland General Assembly - a minimum wage increase so gradual it will have no effect on the standard of living for the working poor, a $431 million tax break for the heirs of millionaires, marijuana "decriminalization" that is hardly that, a paltry $4.3 million for pre-kindergarten education, and a broken promise on fully funding public employee pensions. I hate to be the party pooper, but what's all the celebrating and confetti about?
NEWS
April 14, 2014
In 2010, Baltimore City police made 64,525 arrests, and more than 7,000 of them - 11 percent of the total - were for simple possession of marijuana. That represents thousands of man-hours by Baltimore City police, Central Booking officials, prosecutors, public defenders, judges and others, all of whom had better things to do. That year Baltimore recorded 224 homicides, ranking it among the five deadliest cities in the nation. And the enforcement of laws against possession of marijuana isn't just an issue in Baltimore; overall, the state logged more than 22,000 marijuana possession arrests in 2010, the third most per capita of any state in the nation.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Colin Campbell, The Baltimore Sun | March 20, 2014
The owner of Baltimore's Sonar nightclub was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for his role in supervising a drug dealing and money laundering operation, federal prosecutors announced. Daniel Gerard McIntosh, 38, of Sparks, was part of a large drug operation busted by the Drug Enforcement Agency when it seized more than 80 pounds of marijuana and $30,000 in cash from the group's headquarters in the 3500 block of Hickory Ave., in Hampden. The agency also found 30 cell phones, documentation of a plane purchased for $450,000, books showing more than $14.5 million in marijuana sales, money counters and fake IDs in the sting.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, Michael Dresser and Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | April 8, 2014
By the time confetti fell in Annapolis on Monday night, state lawmakers had loosened marijuana laws, made Maryland the second state in the country to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and whittled their way through more than 2,600 bills considered during the 434th legislative session. The two major votes on marijuana decriminalization and increasing the minimum wage closed out the annual 90-day frenzy of lawmaking. Measures to create stricter penalties for drivers who cause fatal accidents while texting and to revamp Maryland's stalled medical marijuana program also received final passage.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | March 25, 2014
Nearly 100 medical marijuana dispensaries could be opened across Maryland under a bill approved by a key Senate committee Tuesday. The measure approved 10-1 by the Judicial Proceedings Committee would create a medical marijuana program significantly different than the version approved by the House of Delegates. The House plan calls for 10 licensed pot growers that would also operate all dispensaries. Senators said they worried the House version would create a monopoly of pot growers who could control medical marijuana prices and wield considerable political power.
NEWS
February 18, 2014
State officials may be struggling to develop a program that would allow sufferers of certain painful, chronic conditions to use marijuana under the auspices of clinical research, but it's clear that Maryland voters are way out ahead of them in their views on the drug. Just 37 percent of those surveyed in the latest Sun poll want to keep the status quo for marijuana, while 28 percent think posession should be decriminalized - that is, treated like a traffic ticket - and 30 percent think it should be legalized and taxed.
NEWS
By Sean Welsh, The Baltimore Sun | February 25, 2014
Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop issued an apology Tuesday for inaccurate statements he made about deaths related to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. Pristoop, in testimony regarding legalization of marijuana, stated that overdoses on marijuana led to more than 30 deaths on the first day the drug was legalized in Colorado. That data was based upon a hoax story that ran on satirical and comedy websites. "I apologize for the information I provided concerning the deaths.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | February 25, 2014
Prosecutors, police chiefs and sheriffs gathered in Annapolis Tuesday to push back against the growing movement to decriminalize possession of small amounts or marijuana or to legalize recreational use of the drug altogether. At a news conference and at a Senate hearing, law enforcement leaders warned that loosening marijuana laws would undermine drug enforcement across the board. They said it would be premature to pass a bill following in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington state, which recently legalized pot, and opposed a separate measure that would treat possession as a minor civil offense.
NEWS
By Mark Puente and Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | April 14, 2014
Now that the state's medical marijuana program has been revived, officials say it will take about 15 months for the first patients to buy the drug legally in Maryland. Shannon Moore hopes her twin sons survive. Her 3-year-olds, Nicolas and Byron, already have lived longer than expected while battling as many as 30 seizures a day from Miller-Dieker syndrome, a disease that causes brain deformities. Moore hopes a marijuana extract will reduce their seizures. "The hardest part is feeling hopeless," the Frederick resident said.
NEWS
April 13, 2014
We waste money on jailing smokers. We allow liquor to be sold on every corner, and pedestrians and drivers are killed every day. Meanwhile, the police are locking up people of all ages for puffing marijuana. People are getting blood tests because they are in pain management, but they can drink themselves silly and that's OK. We are supporting the cartels by keeping marijuana illegal. Michael Willinger - To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com . Please include your name and contact information.
NEWS
By Kym Byrnes, For The Baltimore Sun | April 12, 2014
Expanding Maryland's fledgling law on medical marijuana proved to be one of the key issues of the just-completed General Assembly session, and an Annapolis mother proved to be a key player in the reform bill that passed the House and Senate. In the fight to gain access to medical marijuana for her 4-year-old son, Logan, who suffers up to 10 seizures a day because of epilepsy, Gail Rand put herself at the heart of the debate, starting at the opening gavel of the 90-day session when she was on hand to lobby House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.
NEWS
April 10, 2014
On Saturday April 5, I sat in the Maryland House of Delegates all day, from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. I watched as our delegates delayed a vote to "digest the information" and then watched them engage in hours of debate. For some reason, Senate Bill 364, better known as the bill that will decriminalize marijuana, was considered an extremely controversial topic, even in such a blue state as Maryland. Eventually it passed 78-55 in the House ( "Assembly moves to decriminalize marijuana," April 5)
NEWS
Dan Rodricks | April 9, 2014
I declare myself underwhelmed by the "accomplishments" of the 2014 Maryland General Assembly - a minimum wage increase so gradual it will have no effect on the standard of living for the working poor, a $431 million tax break for the heirs of millionaires, marijuana "decriminalization" that is hardly that, a paltry $4.3 million for pre-kindergarten education, and a broken promise on fully funding public employee pensions. I hate to be the party pooper, but what's all the celebrating and confetti about?
NEWS
By Erin Cox, Michael Dresser and Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | April 8, 2014
By the time confetti fell in Annapolis on Monday night, state lawmakers had loosened marijuana laws, made Maryland the second state in the country to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and whittled their way through more than 2,600 bills considered during the 434th legislative session. The two major votes on marijuana decriminalization and increasing the minimum wage closed out the annual 90-day frenzy of lawmaking. Measures to create stricter penalties for drivers who cause fatal accidents while texting and to revamp Maryland's stalled medical marijuana program also received final passage.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser | November 22, 2013
(NOTICE: This article replaces an earlier version that incorrectly characterized Del. Ron George's criticism of Del. Heather Mizeur's plan based on the reporter's misunderstanding of the proposal.) Republican Ron George has became the first gubernatorial candidate to target fellow hopeful Heather R. Mizeur's proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana -- focusing on a provision of Mizeur's proposal to let adults legally grow their own. George, a  state delegate from Anne Arundel County, released a statement Thursday in which he denounced Mizeur's plan to tax legal marijuana sales and use the proceeds for early childhood education was first reported in The Baltimore Sun Tuesday.
NEWS
Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | January 21, 2014
As lawmakers in Annapolis continue to consider whether to loosen Maryland's marijuana laws, a bipartisan pair of senators plans to introduce a proposal Wednesday to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug. “We're not trying to encourage people to smoke pot,” said Baltimore County Democrat Sen. Bobby Zirkin, who is leading the effort. “I don't think that having a joint should be a jail-able offense. I don't think that's the definition of a crime.” Under the bill, it would not longer be a crime to have less than 10 grams of marijuana - a proposal that cleared the Senate last year but didn't get a vote in the House of Delegates.  Instead, the proposal calls for making marijuana a civil offense that could result in a ticket for adults and drug treatment for minors.
NEWS
April 8, 2014
According to The Sun, Maryland legislators will pass a bill that would decriminalize possession of 10 grams or less of pot ( "Assembly set to pass wage, marijuana bills," April 7). This is a breakthrough bill, especially promoted by the Black Caucus, that should be signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley. For far too long the government has continued unabated in its efforts to destroy lives for a simple possession charge of small amounts of weed. It's well past the time to stop the real "reefer madness" of our times, the annual national incarceration of 800,000 people for marijuana use. The lunacy of the past government practices has fallen on the convicted as they struggle to find work with a tainted record.
NEWS
Erin Cox and Michael Dresser and The Baltimore Sun | April 7, 2014
Possession of small amounts of marijuana will no longer be a crime in Maryland under a law passed Monday and sent to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his expected signature. Adults caught with less than 10 grams of pot will get a citation that will be treated like traffic ticket and pay a fine, but they could no longer be sent to jail. O'Malley said he plans to sign the law, a reversal from views he held as he gained prominence as Baltimore's tough-on-crime mayor. "As a young prosecutor, I once thought that decriminalizing the possession of marijuana might undermine the public will necessary to combat drug violence and improve public safety," O'Malley said in a statement.
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