By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
NORML will be among a number of advocacy groups in Annapolis tomorrow to testify in favor of House Bill 1453, which seeks to legalize and regulate adult marijuana consumption in Maryland.
NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre will be testifying before members of the House Committee on the Judiciary. The Committee is scheduled to hear the measure on Tuesday, March 19 at 1:00pm. Excerpts of Allen St. Pierre's written testimony appears below.
It is time for Maryland lawmakers to give serious consideration to this proposal. Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation's nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition and replacing it with regulation. The historic votes on Election Day in Colorado and Washington - where, for the first time ever, a majority of voters decided at the ballot box to abolish cannabis prohibition - underscore this political reality.
... Despite more than 70 years of federal marijuana prohibition, Americans' consumption of and demand for cannabis is here to stay. It is time for state lawmakers to acknowledge this reality. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and it is time for lawmakers to impose common-sense regulations governing cannabis' personal use by adults and licensing its production. A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for limited, licensed production and sale of cannabis to adults - but restricts use among young people - best reduces the risks associated with its use or abuse.
If you reside in Maryland and are not among the over 4,000 state residents who have already contacted your House member in favor of HB 1453, please visit NORML's 'Take Action' page now and do so by clicking here.
Today, members of the Maryland Senate are also scheduled to vote on separate legislation, Senate Bill 297, which seeks to decriminalize minor marijuana possession offenses. You can learn more about this bill and urge your member of the Senate to endorse the measure by clicking here.
Maryland is one of ten states that is debating legislation this year to legalize cannabis use. Nearly a dozen states are also considering decriminalization measures. A summary of pending state legislative marijuana law reform measures is available from NORML here.
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