Maryland Marijuana Bill Would End Jail Time 
function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('Maryland Marijuana Bill Would End Jail Time ');
 site = new Array(5);
 return false;

Maryland Marijuana Bill Would End Jail Time 
Posted by CN Staff on March 17, 2013 at 15:43:22 PT
By Kate Havard and Paul Schwartzman
Source: Washington Post
Washington D.C. -- The Maryland Senate on Monday is scheduled to vote on legislation that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and reduce the fine to a maximum of $100.If the bill passes, as expected, it would face review by the House of Delegates, where members have raised concerns about a push to place Maryland among the two dozen states reforming marijuana laws.
The House also is considering a measure that would legalize medical marijuana. The measure has support from Gov. Martin O’Malley. But with the governor’s gun-control package scheduled for House votes next week, the chamber may not act on the medical marijuana bill before a March 25 deadline to send it to the Senate. Under the Senate proposal, people caught with up to 10 grams of marijuana, or about one-third of an ounce, would no longer face jail time. The punishment under the current law is up to 90 days behind bars, along with a fine of up to $500.“We don’t want to wrap people up in the criminal jail system for this,” Sen. Robert A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) said when his proposal was discussed last week.A Democratic stronghold, Maryland has legalized same-sex marriage and abolished the death penalty. On the issue of marijuana, it has lagged behind states such as California and Washington that have legalized the drug for various uses.On the Senate floor last week, Zirkin faced minimal resistance from colleagues. When Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) rose to propose an amendment, he only wanted to add his name as a co-sponsor. Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin (R-Cecil) said he expected the legislation to pass in the Senate with bipartisan support, even as he said he would vote no. “What sort of message are we sending?” he asked. “We’ve got zero tolerance for alcohol abuse, we’re moving towards zero tolerance for cigarettes, but this seems like we’re saying it’s okay.”Under federal law, marijuana remains illegal, which is one reason that Maryland’s Sheriff’s Association and Chiefs of Police Association cite for opposing any weakening of state statutes. By decriminalizing pot, police officials said, lawmakers also may be encouraging use among teenagers. “We do not support any watering down of any marijuana legislation,” said Vince Canales, leader of the police union in Prince George’s County and a member of the state Fraternal Order of Police. “Until it is legalized, we believe the penalties should be adhered to and enforced.”State lawmakers across the country are reviewing marijuana laws, as public opinion polls have shown a growing acceptance for legalizing the use of pot for medical and recreational purposes. Lawmakers in 23 states have drafted bills legalizing medical marijuana, weakening penalties, or imposing taxes on the use of pot, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a District-based advocacy group.“Our broader message is that adults should not be punished for choosing a substance that is safer than alcohol,” said Dan Riffle, a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project. “People who use it don’t act like they do with alcohol. It’s not the kind of thing we have to treat like heroin or cocaine or harder drugs.”Riffle predicted that Maryland lawmakers would legalize pot “in the next three or four years,” taxing and regulating it like alcohol. “The leadership of the legislature is on board with this, more so than in most states,” he said. O’Malley’s attitude toward the issue appears to be evolving. As Baltimore’s mayor, his police department targeted drug dealers in initiatives that reduced the crime rate. He has opposed past efforts to decriminalize marijuana. However, in recent days, the governor’s chief health adviser, Joshua Sharfstein, indicated that the administration would support a proposal to allow academic medical centers to distribute marijuana to patients beginning in 2016.The legislation, written by Del. Dan K. Morhaim (D-Baltimore County) and before the House Judiciary Committee, would require the centers to monitor patients using marijuana and publish their findings, an approach that Sharfstein characterized as cautious enough to allow for an ongoing assessment.Del. Michael J. Hough (R-Frederick), a committee member, said he would vote against the legislation because “it’s just part of a bigger push to legalize all marijuana.”“There’s no legitimate purpose to medical marijuana,” he said. “It’s an illegal drug, the federal government says it is, so either it’s wrong or it’s right.”Del. Joseph F. Vallario (D-Prince George’s), the committee’s chairman, said he didn’t have a position on Morhaim’s proposal. As for the bill to decriminalize marijuana, he said he was still weighing the issue. But he added: “It doesn’t seem like a very good message to be sending to kids.” Source: Washington Post (DC) Author: Kate Havard and Paul SchwartzmanPublished: March 17, 2013Copyright: 2013 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #8 posted by afterburner on March 18, 2013 at 21:42:39 PT
The GCW #7: Even the UN Is Cracking
Friday, Mar 15, 2013 05:15 PM EDT. 
 U.N. development chief slams War on Drugs. 
Helen Clark, a former health minister, says criminalizing drugs has created more problems than it has solved. 
By McCarton Ackerman. Topics: The Fix, War on Drugs, United Nations, Latin America, Drug laws, Social News, Life News, Politics News[ Thanks to Pete at for the tip:
Odds and Ends.
March 16th, 2013 by Pete ]
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by The GCW on March 18, 2013 at 12:38:36 PT
Awesome, binging commonplace at the U.N.
The U.N. needs to sober upBy David Sirota"... You may have read the headline-grabbing news that in advance of its conference on drug policy this week, the U.N. issued a report urging the United States government to block Colorado and Washington state from moving forward with voter-approved laws that allow adult citizens to use marijuana as a less harmful alternative to alcohol. What you may not have heard is that on the very same day the U.N. released that report, U.S. ambassador Joseph Torsella slammed his U.N. colleagues for drinking too much on the job. Apparently, binging at the U.N. is so commonplace and excessive that it is hindering the organization from conducting its most basic work."Cont. this gets international attention.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by HempWorld on March 18, 2013 at 12:24:08 PT
"$4 Million Worth Of Marijuana Found On
Santa Barbara County Beach."Nobody can stop this!
Marijuana On The Beach!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by Quax Mercy on March 18, 2013 at 10:54:01 PT:
No Legitimate Purpose
Rep. Hough: There is no legitimate purpose to your willfully
ignoring the science at this point. You do your constituents as well as yourself a gross disservice. Have an aide Google Dr. Lester Grinspoon, or Dr. Donald Abrams. You mindlessly parrot decades-old DEA cant on this subject. Those stooges would melt in the rain if they considered the science behind the Endocannabinoid system in the human body. You, on the other hand, have a responsibility to your neighbors to guarantee them access to the safest palliative medicine available. Do your own research, sir. Realize you can't get good information from these licensed liars in the Prohibition establishment.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by runruff on March 18, 2013 at 08:40:40 PT
Coming up, Easter.
The one day of the year when rabbits lay eggs and Jesus gets cross.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by afterburner on March 18, 2013 at 06:41:36 PT
'drug dealers regulate drug use right now, not us'
•CN BC: High Time For A Change?, The Outlook, (14 Mar 2013)
Excerpt: { A poll last October found that 75 per cent of B.C. residents support the legal taxation and regulation of cannabis over our current enforcement model. It marked a six-percentage-point jump over just one year before and indicated a growing dissatisfaction with the status quo on cannabis policy, according to Angus Reid Public Opinion vice-president Mario Canseco.  "These beliefs cut across political, social and regional lines," Canseco said at the poll's release. "I can't think of any other issue where the laws on the books are inconsistent with the wishes of three-quarters of British Columbians." ... How then do those sworn to uphold the law do so knowing that a majority of the public - and maybe even they too - disagree with it? It's a question former B.C. attorney general Geoff Plant and former West Vancouver police chief Kash Heed have grappled with. When the majority of citizens are opposed to the law - even just to one law - it undermines the whole rule of law, they argued.  "When nearly 500,000 of your fellow citizens are admitting to pollsters that on a regular basis they are breaking the law, what does that say for our respect for the law?" asked Plant. "It says something pretty bad. It says that we're all kind of living in an uneasy dynamic relationship with the very thing that, I think, is most fundamental to our society." Former West Van top cop Kash Heed agrees, saying in his 30 years of policing with the VPD and later the WVPD, no amount of seizures or arrests could ever stem the supply of the drug nor alter its price, availability or use.  "The drug dealers are regulating drug use right now, not us," Heed told The Outlook in a phone interview last week. Were it regulated instead by the government, he argued, controls could be in place to ensure the drug's purity and potency, while its availability to minors would be restricted. }•CN ON: Tories Warned Of War On Drugs, The StarPhoenix, (09 Mar 2013)
"Canada's conservative movement was warned Friday that America's war on drugs - now being emulated by the Harper government with tough mandatory jail terms - has been an expensive disaster that has stripped millions of people of their civil liberties." more...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by observer on March 17, 2013 at 23:13:29 PT
A Cacking Hough
re: "It doesn’t seem like a very good message to be sending to kids."And a fascist police state - what kind of a message does that send?And what kind of a "message" does shooting her doggie and jamming a gun upside of some peaceful cannabis-taking granny's head, screaming, "You're under arrest for possession of narcotic drugs", say to the kids? Lemme guess: all well and good: situation normal, standard operating procedure, 10-4, etc - I think is the reality of the local SWAT team, there. Del. Michael J. Hough (R-Frederick): "There's no legitimate purpose to medical marijuana"Ooops, there's a ... flat-out falsehood. Even taking him at his weasel-worded utterance. The federal govt hands out pot to people for medical purposes and has patents out related to medical pot etc. That's just scratching the surface, too. re: "Its an illegal drug"Exactly. And isn't that the whole point under discussion? Hough's restating the obvious as if he'd said something intelligent, or profound. More pearls of Hough wisdom follow. "the federal government says it is".Again, so what? Democracy? Majority rule? Human rights? Consent of the governed? Pshaw. Hough hews all that stuff back for some real government fun and profit - the continued jailing of people for pot. No, for this government-worshiper, if the "federal government" (whatever that is) "says" it, then all else be darned, the all-mighty hath spoken. To Hough's ilk, might (government might, that is) makes right. And Hough proudly declares this to be so. The politician Hough continues, affirming, "so either it's wrong or it's right."So there. Government says it, the politician believes it; so that settles it. Government, cackles Hough, (the mightiest government at least) - that's who tells us what is wrong or right. Got that?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by The GCW on March 17, 2013 at 16:50:45 PT
Ahh, the message.
“What sort of message are we sending?” he asked. “We’ve got zero tolerance for alcohol abuse, we’re moving towards zero tolerance for cigarettes, but this seems like we’re saying it’s okay.”-0-Yes, what's the message when government cages a responsible adult for using a God-given plant, which is less harmful than cig's or booze?  ???And, a $100 fine doesn't exactly say "it's okay."In the future, I'm thinking, Maryland IS going to eventually RE-legalize the plant. THEN, We'll be saying it's okay.A $100 fine at this point in time simply indicates a small acknowledgement that perhaps caging humans for using a plant goes a tiny bit too far.Ya think!-0-Getting back to crime and punishment...Caging a responsible adult citizens for using a God-given plant, IS A CRIME.The punishment is?
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment