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Marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol

President Obama said in an interview published on January 19, 2014 that marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol.  Mr. Obama, the top drug enforcement officer in the country, qualified his answer by saying that he would not encourage his children to use marijuana.  Marijuana is currently classified as a schedule I drug.  That means it is in the same category as heroin, crack-cocaine and a litany of other “serious drugs.”

It appears that Mr. Obama was stating the obvious as a  majority of Americans already believe marijuana should be legal.  In the criminal justice system it the criminal penalties and stigma of being a criminal that is worse than the drug itself.   Most people in the criminal justice system know the problems alcohol causes, but it is rare to find an assault, domestic violence incident, robbery or over-dose related to simply using marijuana.  So finally, the President of the United States of America has essentially admitted that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.   So why do we continue to spend so many law enforcement dollars prosecuting marijuana crimes?

How long will we have to wait until the US Government starts treating marijuana like alcohol, instead of like heroin, crack, and other schedule I narcotics?

Unfortunately, our current policy remains and marijuana crimes are strictly enforced.  It is even more unfortunate that if you use marijuana you can become president, but if you are charged and convicted of  even possessing  marijuana your whole life can be ruined and you can be thrown in jail.

Here’s a link to the article.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/19/obama-says-marijuana-no-more-dangerous-than-alcohol/comment-page-44/

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Marijuana Control Act of 2014

The Maryland general assembly is debating a marijuana legalization and regulation bill during the 2014 session.  A similar bill was introduced during the legislative session last year.  It won in the Senate but not the House. Unfortunately, the legalization bill is unlikely to pass due to stiff opposition in the House of Delegates and Governor O’Malley indicating that he would not support the measure to legalize and tax marijuana.

Ironically, the states that are sending teams to the Superbowl, Colorado and Washington have both ended prohibition of marijuana and have decided to allow for the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana.  In Denver, Colorado and Seattle, Washington, marijuana users no longer face time in jail, fines or the consequences of losing student loan aid because of marijuana.

So why isn’t Maryland joining Colorado and Washington in ending these injustices?  Unfortunately, that answer is too complicated to answer here.  But it is important to note, that in Washington and Colorado the vote to legalize marijuana was put on the ballots and won.  Maryland does not have the same system to put bills directly on the ballot, so we have a slow and a sometimes surprisingly conservative legislative process that needs time and political courage to move legalization forward.

Here is the article discussing the Marijuana Control Act of 2014.

http://somd.com/news/headlines/2014/17671.shtml

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Is Marijuana Legal Yet?

Is Marijuana Legal Yet?

As of January 2014 – the answer is absolutely not.

Many people seem to be confused as to the status of marijuana in Maryland.  Many believe that police no longer arrest people for simple possession of marijuana.  Many people also wrongly believe that if you receive a citation for possession of marijuana you can either pay a fine like a traffic ticket or choose to go to court. Unfortunately, many of these people are flat wrong and these misconceptions have created confusion about the status of marijuana in Maryland.

Possession of any amount of marijuana in Maryland is still a serious offense.

As of the posting of this blog, possession of marijuana is still illegal in Maryland.  If you are in possession of less than 10 grams of Marijuana the police may give you a citation rather than arrest you.  The citation is not a payable citation, like a traffic ticket.  It is a summons that requires you to appear before a judge and you could face the possibility of 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.  If you have more marijuana you will most likely be arrested and you face the possibility of 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

In any event, if you have been charged or given a citation for a marijuana related offense you need to contact an attorney for legal advice.