The state of Maryland is considering drug decriminalization.
On Tuesday Maryland’s House of Delegates was scheduled to hold the state’s first ever legislative hearing on eliminating criminal penalties for suspects convicted of possessing small amounts of drugs, including cocaine and heroin.
The law would apply to low-level, non-violent drug offenders, who would be subject to fines instead of criminal prosecutions.
Maryland Delegate Dan Morhaim introduced the bill.
It would “would keep people possessing a small amount of drugs out of the criminal justice system altogether, thereby saving critical resources, avoiding the costs of saddling more Maryland citizens with criminal records and their adverse consequences, and reducing racial disparities,” according to a statement from the Drug Policy Alliance.
It was being supported by the states Legislative Black Caucus.
“We have decades of proof that arresting people simply for using or possessing drugs does far more harm than good,” said Morhaim. “Maryland has the opportunity to serve as a model for the country in treating drug use for what it is—a public health issue. This legislation reflects the scientific, evidence-based research proving how to best help people who use drugs, their families, and the community at large.”