Are They High?
To no one’s surprise, Maryland has some of the most liberal laws on many issues including the use of marijuana (cannabis). Almost 3 years ago, Maryland legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Now liberal extremists are trying to push even further and allow smoking marijuana while in public and driving.
In April of 2014, Gov. O’Malley (D) signed into law Senate Bill 364 (SB 364) that decriminalized the possession of marijuana despite the pleas from law enforcement and prosecutors that urged Gov. O’Malley to veto this bill. On October 1, 2014, Maryland became one of less than half of all US states that have that law and in 2015, Maryland started issuing business licenses to marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers.
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In 2015, Gov. Larry Hogan (R), approved General Assembly’s Bill H.B. 490 that improved Maryland’s medical marijuana law by removing the requirement that patients had to be enrolled in a medical marijuana research program in order to qualify. In addition, the Governor as a part of a criminal justice reform initiative, signed legislation that allows individuals who have been convicted of certain non-violent misdemeanors, such as possession of marijuana or paraphernalia, to apply to have their criminal records shielded from certain records from the potential employers or schools.
But also in 2015, Gov. Hogan vetoed bill SB 5 17, Use and Possession of Marijuana and Drug Paraphernalia, because, though it would correct some of the loopholes in the O’Malley 2014 marijuana law, it would also allow public marijuana smoking and legalize pot paraphernalia, such as pipes and bongs. This law would also allow the use of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle. Hogan said he rejected the measure because it would have created confusion about whether police can stop individuals for smoking marijuana while driving.
The liberal-dominated Maryland Assembly now threatens to override Hogan’s veto on the SB 517 despite multiple studies in scientific community. The scientists at the Yale School of Medicine concluded that the active ingredient of marijuana (cannabis), delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC) causes an increase random neural activity, neural noise, in the brains of healthy drug-user volunteers. Dr. Deepak D’Souza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale, said: “At doses roughly equivalent to half or a single joint, delta-9-THC produced psychosis-like effects and increased neural noise in humans.” Psychosis-like effects are similar to schizophrenia. Dr. Jose Cortes-Briones, a postdoctoral associate in psychiatry at Yale who was the first author of the study stated: “The dose-dependent and strong positive relationship between these two findings suggest that the psychosis-like effects of cannabis may be related to neural noise which disrupts the brain’s normal information processing”. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also raises major concerns on the effect of marijuana on drivers. After alcohol, marijuana is “the next drug most frequently found in crash-involved drivers…Marijuana, even in low to moderate doses, negatively affects driving performance in real situations.” By law, alcohol in open containers is not allowed in these situations and the use of marijuana shouldn’t be either.
Gov. Hogan’s veto was based common sense and was supported by science, but the liberal General Assembly is still trying to override his veto. Marylanders should email their lawmakers by Tuesday, January 19, 2016, and urge them to not override the Governor’s veto and put public safety in jeopardy. The email addresses of Maryland lawmakers can be found here.