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Maryland: House Bill Excludes Marijuana As Parole Violation

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Parolees in Maryland who use or possess small amounts of marijuana would no longer be violation of their sentences under a bill narrowly approved by the Maryland House of Delegates last week.

The bill, which squeaked by on a 10-vote margin, comes a year after Maryland voted to decriminalize the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana. It heads to the Senate for consideration, report Ovetta Wiggins and Jenna Johnson at The Washington Post.

Proponents say it's important for the rules of probation and parole to mirror criminal law, and not to penalize people for offenses that are no longer criminal. Opponents of the bill claimed it would undermine aspects of the criminal justice system intended to keep former inmates on a "positive path," which apparently to these morons means encouraging them to drink rather than the safer alternative of using cannabis.

Possession of small amounts of cannabis isn't a violent offense, said Del. Jay Walker, one of dozens of benighted Democrats who voted against the bill, but drug possession is related to the "drug culture -- the most violent culture we have."

But Del. David Moon (D-Montgomery), who sponsored the legislation, said the bill is "an attempt to keep nonviolent offenders out of the system."

"The spirit is to include all offenses that have been moved from criminal to civil," Moon said.

Maryland: Long-Serving Senate President Says He Supports Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Longtime Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has thrown his support behind marijuana legalization.

Sen. Miller (D-Calvert), who has presided over the chamber for more than 25 years, said on Friday that he would support a bill allowing the regulated sale of cannabis, similar to what is now taking place in Colorado, reports John Wagner at The Washington Post.

"I favor the legalization and taxation of marijuana, with restrictions," Miller said. "I know where people are going to be a generation or two from now."

Miller said that while a legalization bill would stand a good chance in the Maryland Senate, he thinks the going would be much tougher in the House, and that Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, who rose to fame as the "tough-on-crime" mayor of Baltimore, "is always slow on issues like this."

"Quite frankly, I don't see it passing," Miller said. The Senator has a conservative record on most social issues, having voted against same-sex marriage and repeal of the death penalty in recent years.

Last year, the Maryland Senate approved a bill that would have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana on a 30-16 vote. The bill would have reduced the penalty for possession to a civil fine of up to $100, but the measure died in the House.

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