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Maryland Mulling Two Marijuana Legalization Bills

Bills have begun to advance the state of Maryland that end arresting citizens for small amounts of marijuana, according to a report from CBS Baltimore.

The bills in question are marijuana legal and marijuana light and they do not have the support of Governor Martin O’Malley.

One of the bills, if passed, would reduce possession of less than one ounce of marijuana to a fine and a ticket. The other bill, which would make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older, would be regulated by taxes and the state. Supporters are very much in favor of this second bill.

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“If we legalize marijuana, we take out the whole black market aspect,” said Ryan Record, a supporter.

“What’s really the gateway, truly the gateway? Alcohol, and that’s legal and that’s not right,” said John Shook, another supporter.

Those who support the legalization of marijuana in Maryland argue that prohibition failed.

“We have criminalized and demonized tens of thousands of our fellow Marylanders and yet we have not put a dent into the demand for the drug,” said Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery.

“I’m a certified addictions counselor, and I believe I have never seen one of my clients die from an overdose of marijuana yet,” said Tiffany Thompson, a supporter of the bills.

Those opposed to the bills feel that they are playing around with drug prevention programs.

“We believe it sends a horrible message to our kids who otherwise have been told consistently that marijuana is dangerous,” said Chief Mike Pristoop, Maryland Chiefs of Police Association.

The money raised for the state if the bills were to be legalized could reach the $100 to $130 million range. This is more than the state pays to prosecute offenders for possession right now.

“From students I’ve talked to in Howard County they have a much easier time finding marijuana than they do getting beer,” said Sen. Allen Kittleman R-Howard.

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