Meredith Curtis, ACLU of Maryland
ANNAPOLIS - Today, the House Judiciary Committee voted to amend Senate Bill 364, which would have replaced criminal penalties with a civil fine for possession of limited amounts of marijuana, to establish a task force to study whether and how the state's marijuana laws should be changed. Three weeks ago, the Maryland Senate passed the un-amended version of SB 364 with strong bipartisan support. Seven Republicans - Senators David Brinkley, Barry Glassman, Nancy Jacobs, J.B. Jennings, Allan Kittleman, Edward Reilly, and Christopher Shank - joined 29 Democrats in supporting the measure.
On the same day as the House Judiciary Committee voted to amend SB 364, a national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 76 percent of Americans don't think people should be jailed for simple possession.
The following is a statement from the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland:
"The Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland is deeply disappointed that the House Judiciary Committee failed to approve the common sense proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, which was approved two years in a row by wide bipartisan margins in the Senate. Seventeen states have already decriminalized marijuana possession, and Maryland is far behind the times. If they consider the evidence objectively, this task force established to study changes to marijuana laws should find that the best thing for our state is to fully decriminalize marijuana and control, regulate and tax its sale."
Members of the Marijuana Policy Coalition include ACLU of Maryland, CASA de Maryland, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Demand Progress, Equality Maryland, Job Opportunities Task Force, International Women's Cannabis Coalition-Maryland Chapter, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, League of Women Voters of Maryland, Libertarian Party of Maryland, Maryland Green Party, Marijuana Policy Project, Maryland Justice Project, Maryland NORML, Maryland United for Peace and Justice, Medical Cannabis Advocates of Maryland, Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches, Maryland State Conference, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, Montgomery County Young Democrats, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 400, and Veterans for Peace, Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter.
Learn more at the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland website.
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