Some Good Legislation on Pot in Annapolis
If you follow the mainstream media in Maryland, you would think the only legislation in Annapolis regarding marijuana were continuing efforts to legalize it. The pushers of last year’s decriminalization are continuing to push not just for full legalization but to wife clean the records of drug users with multiple convictions.
But there are a number of bills to fix, not exacerbate, many of the problems with last year’s rushed and poorly considered decriminalization bill. These problems include what to do with searches incident to arrest for possession of less than 10g of marijuana, what to do with those who are transporting marijuana via automobile and misleading language in the decriminalization bill that muddied the waters about the criminal nature of possession of 10g or more of marijuana.
House Bill 393, sponsored by Delegate Valentino-Smith (D-23A), would make it a misdemeanor to possess any marijuana in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. This bill not only solves the problems of search incident to arrest in a car stop, it further punishes potential operation of a motor vehicile under the influence of marijuana and limits the transportation, and ultimately distribution, of marijuana. The bill has 4 co-sponsors including Del. McComas (R-35B), Del. Folden (R-3B) and Del. Wilson (D-28).
House Bill 433, sponsored by Delegate Rick Impallaria (R-7), requires that the state disclose the risks of changes in Maryland’s drug laws including that marijuana users are still subject to arrest for violation of federal law and may be terminated by their employers. It is a common sense approach to curb the message that marijuana use in Maryland is now perfectly legal and safe.
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House Bill 495, sponsored by Delegate Dumais (D-15), seeks to clarify the language from last year’s decriminalization bill by reaffirming that possession of 10g or more of marijuana is a conviction for a misdemeanor (last year’s bill referred to it as a “code violation”). The bill also provides for a mechamism to track whether court-ordered drug treatment/education has been followed.
While this is good news it does not mean that those seeking responsible drug laws shouldn’t be approaching their legislators to make common sense changes like those mentioned in this article.
And for you pot enthusiasts, before you start commenting on how wonderful marijuana is, please know that your arguments have already been refuted thoroughly in the video presentation below.