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Gubernatorial Race Could Lead To Md. Decriminalizing Marijuana

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The outcome of the 2014 gubernatorial race could mean some changes in the state’s approach to marijuana.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains Democrat Heather Mizeur is asking her challengers to support her bill to decriminalize the drug.

Marijuana was made legal in Colorado but could it happen here?

“I fully support marijuana legalization,” Mizeur said.

Gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur wants to legalize marijuana and as a first step has introduced a bill to decriminalize it.

“We have an opportunity this legislative session to make sure we decriminalize personal possession for marijuana so if you have an ounce of marijuana, you have a $100 civil fine instead of criminal penalties,” she said.

Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, who’s also running for governor, agrees.

“On the decriminalization of marijuana, I think we should. I think we should decriminalize it. I think that it has a disproportionate impact in enforcement of our marijuana laws on young African-Americans,” he said.

Attorney General Doug Gansler, also running, makes three.

“Clearly decriminalization is somewhere we should go but in terms of actually legalizing drugs, I’m not there yet,” he said.

Neither, Mizeur admits, are a majority of members of the General Assembly.

“I think it will take an election and a mandate from voters to change old ways in Annapolis,” Mizeur said.

Governor O’Malley doesn’t appear ready to decriminalize or legalize this session.

“This is an evolving issue for my part,” he said.

While Mizeur is asking both the attorney general and the lieutenant governor to testify on behalf of her bill, the hearing has not been scheduled yet and they have not committed.

Maryland passed a medical marijuana program last year but so far, the state has failed to implement it.

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