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November 21, 2013

Maryland Gov. candidate running on "comprehensive plan to legalize and regulate marijuana"

MizAs reported in this local article, headlined "Gubernatorial Candidate Mizeur Proposes Marijuana Legalization In Md.," a relatively high-profile candidate in a relatively high-profile state has come out with a campaign message that ensures she will be endorsed by High Times.  Here are the basics:

A candidate for governor wants to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and she’s drawing passionate reaction.... It comes from Democratic candidate Heather Mizeur and would highly regulate the use of pot. She says it’s time to decriminalize it and she’s making more than just political waves.

For the first time, a major party candidate for Maryland governor wants to open the door to legalized recreational marijuana use. “We will take the underground market that exists for everyone trying to access this substance and bring it to the light of day,” Mizeur said.

Mizeur says it would only be for those over 21, illegal to smoke in public and she wants to tax it $50 an ounce, bringing in as much as $157 million a year for education. “Drug dealers on the streets are still selling marijuana to children. They’re not asking for an ID,” she said.

But critics like former addict and counselor Mike Gimbel call the controversial proposal dangerous. “It is totally backwards, irresponsible, stupid and it’s going to hurt people and nobody really seems to care,” he said.

A poll last month showed 51 percent of Marylanders support legalization and 40 percent oppose it.... Maryland is surrounded by jurisdictions that have legalized medical marijuana like D.C. and Delaware, and states considering doing so, like Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Past attempts for less strict laws have largely failed here and none of Delegate Mizeur’s opponents – Democratic or Republican – support it.

What I find especially noteworthy (and appealing) about this political development is that delegate Mizeur seems eager to make marijuana reform a centerpiece of her campaign and she has this part her official website promoting this detailed 11-page document titled "A Comprehensive Plan to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in Maryland." Here is how that document gets started:

Marijuana's time as a controlled, illegal substance has run its course.  Marijuana laws ruin lives, are enforced with racial bias, and distract law enforcement from serious and violent crimes. Marijuana criminalization costs our state hundreds of millions of dollars every year without making us any safer.  A Maryland with legalized, regulated, and taxed marijuana will mean safer communities, universal childhood education, and fewer citizens unnecessarily exposed to our criminal justice system.

I do not know local Maryland politics well enough to have any real idea if Mizeur has any real chance to become the next governor of Maryland.  But I do have an idea that her campaign on this issue is just the latest sign of being in interesting political times concerning drug laws and policies.

Cross-posted at Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform

November 21, 2013 at 08:30 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Ms. Mizeur's candidacy reminds me of that waged by John Liu in the recent Democratic primary in NYC. Liu had been city comptroller, so he's wasn't a kook candidate. His signature issue, like Ms. Mizeur's, was pot legalization. And he was running in a jurisdiction even more liberal than hers.

On election day for the primary, he wound of with 6.84% of the vote, in fourth place. He did, however get two full percentage points more than Anthony "Not Such An Apt Name" Weiner.

Mizeur is doing what Liu and what many minor candidates do, to wit, sieze on one or two glitzy, outsider-but-not-crazy issues in order to get some ink. This virtually never gets them elected or even a second place finish -- and it won't for her either -- but it improves their name recognition for whatever they've got their eye on next.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 21, 2013 9:14:05 AM

“.. Democratic candidate Heather Mizeur [would] highly regulate .. decriminalize .. and she wants to tax it $50 an ounce .. ”

Doing what Democrats *do best: highly regulating, decriminalising, increasing taxation.
Now with atheists, would it still be a “sin” tax?

[*read that as “try” to do; see Obamacare]

Posted by: Adamakis | Nov 21, 2013 9:16:31 AM

“.. Democratic candidate Heather Mizeur [would] highly regulate .. decriminalize .. and she wants to tax it $50 an ounce .. ”

Doing what Democrats *do best: highly regulating, decriminalising, increasing taxation.
Now with atheists, would it still be a “sin” tax?

[*read that as “try” to do; see Obamacare]

Posted by: Adamakis | Nov 21, 2013 9:22:06 AM

Question: if Mizeur is elected, will her spouse be “First Lady” of “First Gentleman”?
Never mind, one can straightaway tell who wears the pants in the family.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/11/14/exclusive-mizeur-eyeing-run-for-md-governor/

Posted by: Adamakis | Nov 21, 2013 9:23:00 AM

Many state and federal candidates of both parties are talking about legalizing marijuana. They are not making it the central theme of their platform, but it is a remarkable change.

Posted by: beth | Nov 21, 2013 1:27:10 PM

What fool would vote for a person who runs on pot as a signature issue? Nothing says "Not a serious candidate" like putting the 3,456th most important issue in the minds of the American people as a centerpiece of your campaign.

Either that or Maryland has become a utopia. I've been there and Baltimore is closer to Detroit than utopia.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Nov 21, 2013 2:47:51 PM

Is Maryland a former slave state? They have come a long way.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Nov 21, 2013 5:40:35 PM

Liberty1st --

For the first time I can remember, I agree with you. Being an idiot state is indeed better than being a slave state.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 21, 2013 5:54:15 PM

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