Speaking truth to the old guard of Annapolis
We need a new approach to drug policy in the state of Maryland, and we need Maryland’s top legal officer to be progressive and bold enough to speak an uncomfortable truth to Maryland’s old guard: every dollar spent on prosecuting minor, non-violent marijuana possessions is a dollar wasted. Jon has the courage and pragmatism to bring substantive change to this important issue.
The nation has witnessed sweeping changes in marijuana legislation over the last decade, and a new course of history has been charted. The “War on Drugs” has failed, and African-American males have suffered the most, having been disproportionately targeted in a misguided effort to face serious problems caused by larger drug use. Studies show that African-Americans are more than three times as likely as Caucasians to be arrested for possession, even though usage rates are roughly equal. This hurts our communities, overcrowds our prisons, and drains our budget. Jon supports legalization and regulation of marijuana so that the racial discrepancies in the system will be reduced while ending the mass incarceration of young people in our prisons. Additionally, legalization would increase funding for much needed diversionary and treatment programs for harder drugs, instead of draining the corrections budget by needlessly locking up and threatening the futures of thousands of teenagers and young adults.
On medical marijuana, Jon has a proven record of fighting to provide quality health care to all Maryland citizens and to make sure that sick patients do not need to risk arrest to get the medicines they need. Jon voted to establish an affirmative defense for possession of marijuana or related paraphernalia when intended for medical use and to allow academic medical centers to distribute medical marijuana in the State. He supports an expansion of Maryland’s medical marijuana program outside of academic medical centers and into small businesses to provide real patient access.