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Published on May 3rd, 2015 | by News Feed

Could Marijuana Legalization Help Baltimore?

The country is currently in the midst of a major shift. Today, this United States is more diverse in political and spiritual beliefs than ever before. One of the most polarizing debates in the country is centered on marijuana and whether or not it should be legal for recreational use.

As we all saw this week, Baltimore is in the middle of a major revolution. The police in the city are being questioned and maligned. The tactics used by officers are being questioned as well. At the center of the debate is the death of 25-year-old Freddie Grey. It is being suggested by some that the current state of affairs in places like Baltimore could be easily repaired if the war on drugs were re-examined.

Right now the leaders in Washington are considering reintroducing legislation that would totally change the face of the drug war. In the hopes of bolstering support for this legislation the representatives called a press conference and spoke to the media. During this time, several representatives mentioned that marijuana needs to be decriminalized.

According to the leaders at this conference the drug war in the United States has not only been a miserable failure but it has also led to unjust laws as well as unjust sentencing for those caught in the middle. Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon was one of the more vocal opponents of the current laws. According to the congressman the laws in this country have led to a 50-year episode of dirty policing, backroom deals, and broken families. The community authorities have been placed at odds with the residents and thus a natural war exists between those seeking to eradicate the city of drugs and those that seek to use them.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California was also very vocal in his support for new legislation. “Right now when you see all of this disturbance in our inner cities, a lot of that has to do with frustration that’s been a problem when police end up having to search people to see if they can find some joint in their pocket, a little piece of weed, in order to ruin their life and put them in jail,” he said. “That doesn’t happen a lot in Orange County, but I know it happens in the inner city.”

There are many in the country that will fail to fully grasp the correlation between the death of Freddie Grey, the riots in place like Baltimore and New York, as well as the continued drug war on marijuana. For many people there is no connection at all. However the truth is much different.

Freddie Grey was only 25 at the time of his death. However he had a criminal record that was very lengthy. However the majority of those charges were related to possession of marijuana. Mr. Grey was not a violent criminal. He was simply someone that enjoyed marijuana and might have been trying to make a few extra dollars by selling marijuana. Allowing for the real elements of the story to be told will allow for a more clear understanding of the picture.

“The drug war is central to what’s going on in Baltimore. We have tasked our police officers with an impossible job of enforcing these drug laws in our country. But it’s not just impossible, it’s disheartening. It’s a job where there is no progress.”

These are the words of Neil Franklin, the president of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. He is a 35-year veteran of the Maryland state police department as well as the Baltimore Police department. He knows very well that the laws in place are putting the city as well as the officials at risk.

Do you think legalizing marijuana would put a stop to a lot of the current conflict between law enforcement and citizens?




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