MARYLAND: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather R. Mizeur is calling for the legalization and regulation of marijuana, promising to use the tax revenue it would generate to pay for an expansion of pre-kindergarten education.
Mizeur, a state delegate from Montgomery County, plans to spell out a detailed proposal Tuesday on how Maryland could control the cultivation and distribution of the drug.
“Marijuana is safer than alcohol and tobacco,” she said in an interview. “It has been a failed policy for us as a nation to criminalize the use of this substance.”
Mizeur’s stand on marijuana comes at a time when public attitudes toward marijuana are becoming increasingly permissive. Voters in two states, Colorado and Washington, have voted to legalize the drug, and Maryland has adopted a law allowing its use for medical purposes under tightly controlled circumstances.
The marijuana proposal is part of a larger theme of Mizeur’s campaign in which she regularly denounces “mass incarceration” and what she calls the “failed war on drugs.”
Mizeur is seeking the Democratic nomination in a primary race that also includes Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. Her plan represents a clear break from Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has taken a cautious approach toward any loosening of marijuana laws.
Under Mizeur’s plan, only people 21 and older would be able to use marijuana legally. Possession would be limited to an ounce, and smoking marijuana in public would be prohibited. Driving while under the influence of marijuana would still be illegal. The marijuana plants would be grown in secure facilities in Maryland.