Brown Takes Safest Conceivable Stance on Marijuana Laws

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Del. Heather Mizeur and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown
Del. Heather Mizeur and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown

“Decriminalize the Possession of Small Amounts of It” doesn’t look as good on a bumper sticker as “Legalize It,” but that’s Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s official position on Maryland’s marijuana laws.

With marijuana legalization gaining support all across the country — and with gubernatorial rival Del. Heather Mizeur making legal weed a key plank in her platform — Brown has entered into the issue with a rather modest proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of the drug.

In a letter made public Monday, Brown explained the reasoning behind decriminalization. He pointed out that marijuana arrests disproportionately target African-Americans, that such an arrest can have “an in­cred­ibly negative impact on that person’s life,” and that enforcement is “costly,” tying up resources that could be put to better use.

Those are all valid points, and — make no mistake — I hope our state decriminalizes marijuana possession, but there’s something strange about watching a lieutenant governor finally come around to views you first heard drunkenly shouted over Fela Kuti album in a college dorm room over a decade ago.



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