Monday, April 21, 2014 8:10 AM
Published on: Wednesday, November 27, 2013
By Adam Barry
Maryland’s Democratic Primary is next year, and as the race heats up the candidates’ platforms are being examined with increasing scrutiny, especially those with more radical ideas.
As part of her platform, Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur wants to legalize, regulate and tax the sale of marijuana in the state of Maryland, possibly making it the third state, along with Washington and Colorado, to allow the sale of the drug for recreational use.
Under Mizeur’s guidelines, sale would be regulated the same way the state regulates the sale of alcohol, and citizens would still be prohibited from smoking in public or driving while high. She claims the move could net the state around 160 million dollars in taxes, money needed to shore up the budget.
A November poll at Goucher University found that 51 percent of Marylanders surveyed support legalization, while 40 percent were opposed. The numbers support the assertion that marijuana could be a divisive issue for voters.
Like most social movements, the nationwide push for legalization has seemed to start on college campuses across America, a group that is hard to reach for politicians.
“I’m all for it,” said Montgomery College student Michael Beliveau, originally from Poolesville. Beliveau specifically cited the legal troubles kids could get in for experimenting with small amounts of the drug. While he is not a regular voter, ending the strict prohibition and harsh legal penalties for marijuana would make him “more interested to go vote.”
University of Maryland student Ben Buchholz is a regular voter in state and federal elections, and while he says he is “not going to decide my vote just based on this,” he agrees the platform “may give [Mizeur] the edge over opposing candidates.”
Buchholz, who graduated from Montgomery Blair and is from the Silver Spring area, supports Mizeur’s ideas even if he does not support her as the best candidate. “Police spend too much time focusing on weed and jails are overcrowded,” he says, adding that legalizing the drug could prevent overworking the police force and save the state valuable money.
Taylor Johnson, another Maryland student who graduated from Northwest High, does not necessarily buy the claim that legalization will give cops more time to investigate more serious crimes. “Police will still look for under aged kids,” he believes, adding that police already on party patrol will most likely have to spend more time looking for marijuana use.
Even though Johnson dismisses this part of Mizeur’s pitch, he still supports her initiative, based on his belief that “in moderation, [marijuana] is okay for a recreational drug.” Safeguards like not selling to children and not letting people drive while high convince Johnson that the drug can be used legally and safely.
Posted By: Drew Stromberg On: 12/2/2013
Hey great article Adam! I work for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and we're going to be involved in the effort to decriminalize marijuana in Maryland this year. We'd love to get you involved if you're interested! Check out our website for some more info on what we do, and please feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions or want to get involved :)
Posted By: Storm Crow On: 11/27/2013
Why should YOU support legalizing cannabis? These articles give some good reasons! “Marijuana May Slow Alzheimer's” (WebMD- read this, if nothing else!), “Pot compound seen as tool against cancer” (SFGate) , “An ultra-low dose of tetrahydrocannabinol provides cardioprotection” (PubMed), “Smoked Cannabis Reduces Some Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis” (UCSD), “Marijuana Compound May Help Stop Diabetic Retinopathy” (ScienceDaily), “Marijuana may be Helpful in Lowering Blood Pressure” (BioMedicine) and “Cannabis for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease treatment” (NewsMedicalNet). More good reasons can be found in "Granny Storm Crow's List"- online and on facebook.