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Montgomery Leaders Seek to Make Marijuana Offenses Lowest Priority

Montgomery County lawmakers announced legislation they want state lawmakers to adopt that would further decriminalize marijuana.

Montgomery County lawmakers announced legislation they want state lawmakers to adopt  that would further decriminalize marijuana. Credit: File|Patch
Montgomery County lawmakers announced legislation they want state lawmakers to adopt that would further decriminalize marijuana. Credit: File|Patch
Seven of the nine Montgomery County Council members support new legislation that would make marijuana the lowest priority for police officers and state attorneys.

“I think we have to change the way that we do police work, and marijuana should not be something we should be pulling people into the criminal justice system for,” said Montgomery County Council member Hans Riemer, according to WJLA.

The Maryland legislature this winter decriminalized recreational use and possession of small amounts of the drug, according to a previous Patch story. The new law stated that possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana by an individual 21 and older would be reclassified as a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine.

But Montgomery County leaders want state lawmakers to take the issue a step further by addressing the issue of possession of drug paraphernalia.

The Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office has also signed on to the new resolution, WJLA reports. Individuals 21 and older would not be charged for first-time marijuana and/or paraphernalia possession under the proposal.

“The war on drugs . . . is not working in the state of Maryland,” Sen. Christopher Shank from Washington County previously said, according to Patch. “It is not working in the United States. We are spending incredible resources with our judiciary when our law enforcement, and the rate of drug use is not going down.”

WJLA reports that Montgomery Councilwoman Nancy Navarro said the council will be paying attention to Colorado and Washington to gauge the effects since those states totally decriminalized marijuana.
Kim Cooke June 18, 2014 at 07:11 AM
Well done. I am in complete agreement.
Fran Asbeck June 18, 2014 at 07:18 AM
Just in case everyone's forgotten, it was county exec. Duncan who made MJ enforcement a priority in order to further overcrowd the Rockville jail, in support of his push to move the jail to Clarksburg (Boyds, actually) where it inconvenienced the courts, the prosecutors, the sheriff. So that there would be no longer a jail in Duncan's personal neighborhood. Didn't work out that way, did it Doug?

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