ANNAPOLIS, MD — A former Baltimore narcotics cop will testify before a Maryland House of Delegates committee on Tuesday in favor of a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession. The bill, SB 297, sponsored by Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), will be heard by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee at 1:00 PM ET.
Neill Franklin, who did narcotics work with both the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department over a 34-year career, will testify that, “The current laws force police officers in Maryland to waste hour after hour processing marijuana possession arrests. Can you imagine how many more burglaries, rapes and murders we could solve if we put these wasted man-hours toward good use? Marijuana prohibition constitutes a serious threat to public safety.”
Franklin is executive director of the organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), an international group of police officers, judges, corrections officials, border agents and other criminal justice professionals who have witnessed the failures of the so-called “war on drugs” firsthand.
WHO: Baltimore narc & other advocates who support decriminalizing marijuana
WHAT: Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing for marijuana decriminalization bill
WHEN: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 1:00 PM ET
WHERE: 2 East Miller Senate Building, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401-1991
The bill will lower the penalty for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a non-criminal infraction punishable by a fine of up to $100.
Maryland spends over $236 million a year enforcing its marijuana laws, according to Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron. Fifteen other states have already decriminalized low-level marijuana possession, while Colorado and Washington recently passed laws to legalize and regulate marijuana sales.
The full text of SB 297 is online at http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2013RS/bills/sb/sb0297f.pdf
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, prison wardens, federal agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the “war on drugs” and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com.