Maryland House Committee Stalls On Marijuana Decriminalization | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Maryland House Committee Stalls On Marijuana Decriminalization

Play associated audio
A House committee in Maryland isn't moving on marijuana decriminalization, but supporters in the Senate say the fight isn't over.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/47516699@N07/5424625922
A House committee in Maryland isn't moving on marijuana decriminalization, but supporters in the Senate say the fight isn't over.

Supporters of decriminalizing marijuana were dealt a serious setback this week by a House committee, which voted to study the issue instead of advancing a bill that would punish possession of small amounts of the drug with a fine instead of jail time.

But the fight isn't over yet, even with the General Assembly scheduled to adjourn for the year on Monday.

In the Senate, where decriminalization passed with bipartisan support, there was a lot of agitation and exasperation after the House Judiciary Committee changed the bill yesterday, calling for a task force to study the matter for the next two years.

"You know, they just delay and delay and delay and delay. Justice delayed is justice denied," says Senate president Mike Miller. "And, they want to continue to put their head in the sand on this issue."

Baltimore County Democrat Bobby Zirkin is the sponsor of the bill, and says he'll bring it back again next year. "This has been studied for decades from the other states that have already done the exact same thing. So, I don't know what else you could possibly study from the other 18 states that started doing this in the 1970s."

But Zirkin won't have to bring the bill back if decriminalization supporters successfully change the measure back to its original form during Friday morning's floor session. Montgomery County Democrat Heather Mizeur is one of those who will try.

"We're not going to accept a task force," Mizeur says. "If we're going to study anything, we should look at legalization. And we aren't done with the fight on this yet."

As for whether they'll succeed tomorrow, Mizeur says, "We're doing our whip counts. And we're definitely coming up with close to 71 votes to support this on the House floor."

Another potential roadblock for decriminalization supporters: Governor Martin O'Malley hasn't indicated whether he would sign the bill if it reached him.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 28

You can see two solo exhibits featuring work that speaks in metaphor.
NPR

Rust Devastates Guatemala's Prime Coffee Crop And Its Farmers

Central American coffee farmers are facing off against a deadly fungus that has wiped out thousands of acres of crops. Coffee companies like Starbucks are pooling money to support them in the fight.
NPR

When Did Companies Become People? Excavating The Legal Evolution

The Supreme Court has been granting more rights to corporations, including some regarded as those solely for individuals. But Nina Totenberg finds the company-to-person shift has a long history.
NPR

What It's Like To Own Your Very Own Harrier Jump Jet

The Harrier Jump Jet is known for vertical take-offs and landings. It also has an accident-prone track record, but that didn't dissuade one pilot from buying his dream plane.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.