Lawmakers in Annapolis held a hearing on Thursday on Senate Bill 297. If it passes, the Legislation would reduce the penalty for being in possession of less than ten grams of marijuana. Washington County Delegate Neil Parrott is not in favor of the measure. "The proponents of the bill are saying that people are using it anyway. Many police officers testified today saying that this bill would make it impossible for them to enforce the existing laws of marijuana," said Parrott.
Dan Riffle, a former prosecutor and Deputy Director of Government Relations, said about two dozen witnesses testified in favor of the bill Thursday, and said marijuana is safer than alcohol. "There are more serious crimes that police should be focusing their attention on. Like for example, the fact that the clearance rate for rape in Maryland is below 50%, for robbery and theft it's below 20%. There are just real crimes out there that needs to be addressed and we shouldn't be spending 50 thousand hours of police work chasing people around for using a substance that is safer than alcohol," continued Riffle.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) and Sen. Allan Kittleman (R-Carroll & Howard), was approved in the Senate last week by a vote of 30-16.