“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.