By Patch Staff
The Maryland General Assembly convened Wednesday, kicking off a 90-day legislative session that will likely include a debate about whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
While some lawmakers, like Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., support legalization, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley does not.
We polled our readers on Facebook to find out where they stand on this hot-button issue. Many were in favor of legalization so long as marijuana is regulated the same as alcohol and tobacco. But, not everyone is in favor of it. Here are a few comments from across the state:
George Stewart, Catonsville Patch: “I don’t see the problem. It would reduce court time for real cases and make huge tax dollars for the state rather than them making rain taxes.”
Melissa McCall Sinclair, Columbia Patch: “I am not a marijuana user and probably never would be, but I see no reason for it to be illegal. Alcohol and tobacco are legal. They are just as bad or WORSE for you than marijuana.”
Mindy Cherches Nelson wrote on Anne Arundel Patch’s Facebook page that she agrees with the legalization of marijuana “only for patients with medical needs but definitely NOT for recreational use.”
Seth Pollack, Rockville Patch: “There’s really no question that marijuana should be regulated like alcohol. Health-wise, it’s ‘better’ than drinking.”
“I believe this would not be a positive step in the war on obesity and poor health choices in general,” Greg Shipley wrote on Bel Air Patch’s Facebook page. “Go for it, but, tax the hell out of it to pay for increased health care costs.”
“I'm sure people who think it shouldn't be legal to smoke marijuana drink,” wrote Brian Hollenback on Perry Hall Patch’s Facebook page. “How foolish can you be? People die everyday from drinking. When's the last time you heard someone being hurt from smoking too much pot?”
Fahad Raja, Rockville Patch: “Let’s not make this country another Amsterdam.”
“I just think this is wrong,” Gloria Corbett Scholtz wrote on Anne Arundel Patch’s Facebook page. “Sending mixed messages to our kids.”
“What do we tell our children now? Don't do drugs—except the ones that are legal? Great message we are sending,” Stephanie Voytek Petrosino wrote on Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch’s Facebook page. “Using the logic that people are going to do it anyway so we might as well make money off of it? Really? People are going to do a lot of things they shouldn't but it doesn't make it right.”
Carole Bognanni, Owings Mills-Reisterstown Patch: “They are out of their mind if they do … We have loads of people that are brain fried now. Why add more?”
“How are the police even going to be able to tell if someone was recently high when they had the accident, THC stays in the body for days, lawyers are going to be able to get their clients off every time because of this,” Bruce Potter wrote on Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch’s Facebook page. “Besides, I think Maryland needs to get control of some current laws before they open up another issue that they are unable to control.”
“It’s a plant. Making a nature illegal is absurd,” wrote Alexander Paul Buwalda on Bel Air Patch’s Facebook page.
“When the states start seeing how much revenue Colorado and Washington are making many more will start coming around,” Chris McBride wrote on Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch’s Facebook page. “I'm sure MD will drag its feet like always. I mean we still didn't even get a concealed carry permit but neighboring states have the right to carry and offer permits.”
“Yeah, Colorado's going to pull in an estimated 70 million this year, that sure as hell beats raising my taxes again this year,” wrote Michael Vogeler on Odenton-Severn Patch’s Facebook page.
Bruce Pumphrey has the process all figured out for lawmakers.
“We should legalize it, tax it, require it be produced domestically, restrict public smoking of it and keep the total cost competitive with illegally imported pot to reduce the benefits to the illegal drug trade,” he wrote on Annapolis Patch’s Facebook page.
“Everyone complains about freedoms being taken from Americans, then votes no on these things that adults should be able to decide for themselves,” wrote Misty Brown on Anne Arundel Patch’s Facebook page. “Then maybe our tax dollars won’t go to feeding, clothing and housing simple weed smokers in the prison system. Save that already overcrowded space for violent offenders.”
Kate O'Harra Mulhall wrote that it “doesn't matter what I think,” on Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch’s Facebook page. “The politicians decide. ‘We the people’ have no voice in Maryland.”TELL US: Should Maryland legalize marijuana?