Maryland voters approved same-sex marriage and the DREAM Act, but don't hold your breath on the legalization of marijuana. Even though Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana through popular vote this year, it is not expected to show up on the Maryland ballot anytime soon.
Since medical marijuana was first approved in 2010, there have been some changes in how the Washington, D.C., government looks at marijuana usage, so much so that the mayor recently said that District officials should keep an open mind about relaxing or decriminalizing recreational marijuana use. As it is, someone charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession can be sentenced to prison for six months and be forced to pay a $1,000 fine. This is double the punishment that someone would face if they had just crossed the border into Montgomery County.
While Montgomery County police and prosecutors portray criminal drug activity as a black and white, guilty or not guilty incident, there are often mitigating circumstances that can change how a suspect is prosecuted or tried. For example, prosecutors are trying to figure out what to do with a man who has been criminally charged after being caught with marijuana, despite his insistence that he was only transporting the drug because he had received a death threat.
There are certain rights that every American can claim, rights that protect everyone. One of those rights, a right that is so fundamental to the American criminal law system that it colors how police do their jobs, is the right against unreasonable search and seizure. In order to ensure that no one is humiliated or embarrassed in a criminal investigation, police must follow strict rules regarding searches, rules that many people in Maryland and Washington, D.C., might expect school officials to follow as well. Sadly, in one school's quest to keep the school drug-free, it seems as if a vice-principal has crossed the line between reasonable and unreasonable search.
For many people in Montgomery County and across Maryland living with serious medical conditions, medical marijuana provides relief from the chronic pain and constant discomfort caused by their poor health. Despite Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's enactment of legislation that no longer made it a crime for patients to receive medical marijuana, many patients are still arrested and prosecuted for marijuana drug crimes. Now, a representative from Baltimore County has submitted two bills to the state House of Representatives that would protect patients that have a medical need for marijuana.
Residents of Silver Spring are familiar with the work of the legendary hip-hop star Soulja Boy, but they may be shocked to hear how a recent trip home ended badly for the rapper. Instead of relaxing or spending time with family and friends, he was arrested for the alleged possession of marijuana. He has told reporters, however, that he is innocent.