Monday, February 24, 2014

Police Chiefs and Sheriff’s Opposing Legalization and Decriminalization of Marijuana

Maryland Chiefs of Police and Maryland Sheriff’s Association


 Police Chiefs and Sheriff’s opposing legalization and decriminalization of marijuana

FROM: Sheriff Reggie Mason
DATE:  February 24, 2014
WHERE:  Lawyers’ Mall, Annapolis
WHO:  Maryland Chiefs of Police
and Maryland Sheriff’s Association

WHAT: Police Chiefs and Sheriff’s Opposing Legalization
 and Decriminalization of Marijuana

Senate Bills 364 and 658 Opposed by MCPA and MSA

Senate Bill 658, “The Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act,” would essentially legalize marijuana which is now a controlled dangerous substance. Senate Bill 364 would decriminalize the possession and use of marijuana changing Maryland law to enable the possession of 10 grams or less and alter the penalty to a civil offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $100.  Chiefs and Sheriffs, representing the Maryland law enforcement community, understand the basis of the legislation but nevertheless are adamantly opposed.  Maryland law enforcement executives believe, if enacted, this legislation will have a potentially crippling effect on public safety, highway safety and, most troubling, will negatively impact children.  
A wide range of studies and verifiable facts clearly show that the recreational use of marijuana is not only controversial but produces psychological and physical problems particularly injurious to the health of adolescents.  Traffic accidents, particularly fatalities, are often caused by drivers under the influence of illegal drugs. 
Marijuana is notably responsible for an increase in such accidents in states where decriminalization has occurred.  The detect ability of marijuana in drivers presents troubling difficulty for law enforcement and prosecution.  Legalization or decriminalization of marijuana will also negatively impact our police officers’ ability to detect and interdict other illegal drugs which surely hurts public safety and may contribute to violence and other crimes.   These are just a few of the many reasons why marijuana decriminalization is bad public policy and injurious to public safety.
Collectively, as partners who represent Maryland law enforcement, and as advocates for the safety of every citizen and visitor of Maryland, MCPA and MSA are opposed to SB 364 and SB 658. We invite members of the media to discuss this legislation and learn of the negative impact should it become law. 
 Please join us at Lawyers’ Mall in Annapolis on Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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