Friday, January 04, 2013

Maryland and Marijuana

Proponents of liberalizing marijuana laws in Maryland are likely to be disappointed with this years’ General Assembly. Despite the recent liberalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington, Maryland legislators show little interest in joining in the fun. According to this article by C. Benjamin Ford in The Gazette, Senator Jamie Raskin,  a co-sponsor of last years attempt to liberalize the states marijuana laws, “has not heard of any bills planned for the 2013 session, even though many lawmakers believe more reforms are needed.”

“I have heard a very broad consensus that people consider the war on drugs a failure,” Raskin said. “What we've been doing has not been working in America. This is not a Maryland issue, it’s a nationwide issue.”

Liberalizing marijuana laws could also go a long way to improving the states budget woes. Unlike gambling, which has so far failed to achieve the lofty revenues promised voters, pot legalization could produce an immediate windfall. In addition to projected savings of $27 million in law enforcement and incarceration costs, the state could tax the wild weed. In Washington, where the state will apply a 25% tax on the sale of marijuana, revenues are expected to exceed $22 million annually.

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