So it looks like Washington DC finally went right ahead last week and decriminalized possession of marijuana with a civil fine attached to its possession, a bill that passed overwhelmingly 11-1.
Apparently DC has legitimately progressive leadership (according to the current socially generated definition) as they recognize this is the first and probably best step toward eventual legalization that the public can swallow and leadership can back without looking like Hippy Dippy Dooby Smokin’ Libtards. There’s no evidence that this is some form of money grab for revenue even through my cynical lenses though I would have that $60 ticket framed and mounted on my wall if I ever received it. But rather, decriminalization is a surefire way to free up police resources, put a slow but grinding halt to the incarceration of certain ethnicities over others in the drug trade and further the warranted narrative – backed by tomes of peer reviewed medical research – that Marijuana is an intoxicant that society is ready to accept as generally harmless in moderation after nearly 100 years of propaganda. But as our own Queen Figurehead Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s opinions are in lock step with an antiquated old boy vision perpetuated by Governor Martin O’Malley, she won’t entertain the idea in public despite being enamored with DC’s other policies including comprehensive speed camera programs and plastic bag legislation. And in turn, neither will our own city council vote in favor for such an idea – though they may suggest it publicly.
Even after some time ago our own State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein began “diversion” policies (1) as reported this past April by The Baltimore Sun, effectively freeing up court dockets and locking up fewer possession cases by offering community service or stiff fines in lieu of jail time, the next logical step is to further reduce the burden on our police force and court system by negating the additional step of apprehending and processing these “criminals” so that they may focus on the real and imminently dangerous cases at hand, a strategy which (that is to say, focusing on our most violent repeat offenders) our Mayor seems to be in favor of according to her most recent State of The City Address (2). So why not take that next logical step, then?
At a time when violent crime is on the tip of everyone’s tongue / typing fingers and the iron is white hot, the decriminalization of Marijuana in the city of Baltimore would at the very least assuage some, but certainly not all, of the population’s fears of the drug trade that serves it and a police force that preys upon it. Or vice versa. Whichever description you prefer. Baltimore has an opportunity to be a truly Independent City and bring some Real Talk to the table which is something our neighbor to the south has already done, as we continue a trend in a high degree of certainty toward one of our most murderous years on record.
Quite literally, lives are at stake here. It’s time for some real leadership.
(1) “Baltimore prosecutors lighten up on marijuana possession” – 04/20/2013 (heheheheh) Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun
(2) “City Hall Notebook: Crime Takes Center Stage in State of the City Address” – 02/10/2014 P. Kenneth Burns, WYPR