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NEWS
February 4, 2010
I do not understand why The Sun is not featuring any of the experts (many available right here in Baltimore) who have worked in the field of addictions and have valuable experience and information about the negative consequences of legalizing marijuana, which is a well-known "gateway" drug and ripe for black market enterprise despite suggested constraints ("Md. fights through haze over medical marijuana," Jan. 31). There are many serious drawbacks to legalization. I feel the following questions are valid and need to be explored before the legislature approves such a bill.
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NEWS
July 10, 2014
While I sympathize with the sentiment, the call from some in the District of Columbia to boycott Rep. Andy Harris' district is a classic case of a misconceived proposal that allows one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch ( "Harris wrangles with D.C. officials over marijuana decriminalization," July 3). Many of us did not vote for the big-government Republican Mr. Harris, who typifies conservative hypocrisy as he claims to favor limited government while supporting restrictive, limited liberty, Big Brother interventionist policies like marijuana prohibition.
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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
July 8, 2014
Your recent editorial, "The Harris boycott" (July 7) put far too much emphasis on the politics and not enough on what really matters. The Washington, D.C., City Council has just passed the most lenient marijuana decriminalization law in the nation, with a $25 fine that is not only less than the average traffic ticket but involves no point system. Do we really want the capital of our nation and mecca for family tourism to go down this path? The data show that states with lenient decriminalization laws have higher rates of youth use, as reported to the Centers for Disease Control, than those that have stricter decriminalization with higher civil penalties for the first offense, increasing penalties for repeat offenders, and/or requirements for drug education.
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
June 27, 2013
As a 33-year Maryland law enforcement veteran, I agree with 95 percent of what Baltimore City State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein says about the difficulty of decriminalizing marijuana ("Perils of decriminalization," June 21). A move to decriminalize marijuana would leave behind the deadly drug-dealing marketplace of Baltimore's street corners. Most people do not realize that alcohol prohibition was the decriminalization of alcohol. It was only illegal to manufacture, transport and sell, not to possess or consume.
NEWS
Baltimore Crime Beat | February 22, 2012
Baltimore City State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein was among the prosecutors urging lawmakers to allow prosecutors to seek shorter sentences in some marijuana possession cases , WBAL Radio reported this week. Bernstein was in Annapolis Tuesday to testify before the House Judiciary Committee which was considering a bill to allow prosecutors to pursue a maximum 90-day jail term for those convicted of possessing less than 14-grams of marijuana.  Current law calls for a maximum one-year jail term.
NEWS
January 6, 2012
Your recent editorial on medical marijuana was yet another attempt to frame the legalization debate in terms of public safety, which is nothing more than a convenient smoke screen ("Go slow on marijuana," Jan. 3). If our leaders cared one wit about public safety as it concerns drugs, most of the prescription medicines advertised directly to consumers would be taken off the shelves. Marijuana has been studied to death already, not for its medical benefits but for its potential harm.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | March 21, 2012
The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would cut the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in a way that curtails the right to an initial jury trial on the charges. By a 16-4 vote, members said, the panel gave its OK to Del. Luke Clippingers's bill setting the maximum penalty for possesssion of 7 grams or less of marijuana at 90 days and a $500 fine. Previously those convicted of the charge could have been given up to a year in jail. With a potential penalty of more than 90 days, defendants were entitled to a jury trial in Circuit Court  -- an option may have taken.  Under the legislation, defendants would initially be  tried before a District Court judge but would retain the right to appeal to the Circuit Court.
NEWS
By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun | July 25, 2012
An argument over an unpaid pool maintenance bill led to the arrest of a Pasadena woman on drug charges Tuesday. Joan Della Lott, 52, was arrested at her Luke Drive home for cultivating marijuana, not for arguing about an unpaid bill. The pool man called police to the home about noon. While mediating the dispute, officers spotted marijuana plants growing in wooden planters on the property, which is near Mountain Road. Police said they seized four plants, nearly 20 feet in length, with an estimated street value of $3,300.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | July 3, 2014
- A proposal by a Maryland congressman to block the decriminalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia has devolved into a war of words - with some D.C. advocates calling on Washingtonians to boycott the beaches of the Eastern Shore this summer in protest. Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland's only Republican in Congress, set off the controversy last week by attaching an amendment to a federal funding bill that would stop the district from enforcing the decriminalization law signed by Mayor Vincent Gray in March.
NEWS
By John Fritze and The Baltimore Sun | June 24, 2014
Rep. Andy Harris plans to introduce an amendment Wednesday that would block the District of Columbia's effort to decriminalize marijuana. The Cockeysville Republican and House Appropriations Committee member will attempt to attach the amendment to a spending bill Wednesday. The effort comes months after the state of Maryland made possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana a civil matter. The effort was first reported by CQ Roll Call. "What the amendment will do is prohibit not only federal funds but D.C. funds to be used to decriminalize marijuana under the current statute," Harris, an anesthesiologist, told the paper.
NEWS
June 19, 2014
M is for marijuana as in she wants make marijuana profitable. I is for indifferent as in she is indifferent about the color of one's skin. Z is for zealous as in she is zealous about making real change in Maryland. E is for enthusiastic as in she is very enthusiastic and has a positive approach. U is for understands as in she understands what her constituents want. R is for rewarded as in Maryland will assuredly be rewarded in making her our next governor. It is just my way of saying that Del. Heather Mizeur will be a very interesting alternative to the Browns, clowns and everyone else who aspires to be our next Democratic governor.
NEWS
Susan Reimer | June 9, 2014
Wow. Does Maureen Dowd have an amazing job, or what? Not only does the New York Times columnist occupy some of the most exclusive real estate in journalism, she got her editors to pay her way to Denver to score some dope and get high. She sold the junket as a reporting trip. She'd been writing about Colorado's legalization of marijuana and wanted to see how the rollout was going. Makes sense. You don't cover the Super Bowl from your family room TV. But you also don't suit up. And when the rookie doper - called a "noob" in the business - ate her way through an entire marijuana candy bar instead of taking just a bite, she had a really, really bad trip.
NEWS
May 19, 2014
The recent incident of a man driving a truck into the WMAR television studio involved a person reported to suffer from mental illness and a cannabis use disorder, yet the press continues to hype up the mental health diagnosis and play down the substance abuse ( "WMAR barricade suspect had been hospitalized for mental illness, mother says," May 14). What will it take for people to understand that there is a high prevalence of co-occurring substance use and mental disorders? Yes, people may hear voices, but adding a substance to that can be fatal.
NEWS
By Julia Kim Leff | May 12, 2014
Last month, when Gov. Martin O'Malley passed historic legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, Maryland was abuzz. Politicians, the media, advocates and critics voiced their opinions (both supporting and opposing the bill) loud and clear. But there was a critical voice missing from this conversation: the voice of a teenager. It's widely understood that decriminalization is the first step toward legalization, and teens understand all too well how this will play out in conversations at the dinner table and in drug education classrooms at school.
NEWS
By Tony Newman | December 27, 2011
Should juries vote "not guilty" on low-level marijuana charges to send a message about our country's insane marijuana arrest policy? Jury nullification is a constitutional doctrine that allows juries to acquit defendants who are technically guilty but who don't deserve punishment. As Paul Butler wrote recently in The New York Times, juries have the right and power to use jury nullification to protest unjust laws. Mr. Butler points out that nullification was credited with ending our country's disastrous alcohol Prohibition as more and more jurors refused to send their neighbors to jail for a law they didn't believe in. He says we need to do the same with today's marijuana arrests.
NEWS
January 31, 2014
Many, many kudos to The Baltimore Sun for its front page article on Maryland's failure to people with some disabilities and those who suffer in extreme pain due to inexplicable roadblocks to authorize medical marijuana ( "Medical marijuana still beyond reach in Maryland," Jan. 28). We hear many excuses spun as "reasons. " Yes, it's still banned by the federal government, but 20 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to help people instead. Two states have even legalized marijuana for recreational use. To my knowledge, doctors have not lost their licenses to practice medicine.
NEWS
May 8, 2014
My former colleagues in police work made large amounts of overtime due to Maryland's marijuana prohibition, and commentator Sidney Rocke was correct that defense attorneys also make tons of money dealing with marijuana possession cases. I am certain that defense attorneys in Colorado have a lot less to do now that people there have voted to deal with marijuana like beer. Yes, Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr. is a dinosaur who needs to be retired ( "A dictator in the House," May 5)
NEWS
Editorial from The Aegis | May 6, 2014
When it comes to the status of marijuana in Maryland, Sheriff Jesse Bane was absolutely right when he told the Harford County Council last week: "I will guarantee you dollars to doughnuts they will be back next year to legalize marijuana... " For better, or for worse, the push is on in many parts of the U.S. to legalize marijuana; this year, the Maryland General Assembly went so far as to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug, which already had been given clearance for medical uses, albeit a rather useless clearance.
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