Criminalizing marijuana is bad public policy

As a 33-year Maryland law enforcement veteran, I agree with 95 percent of what Baltimore City State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein says about the difficulty of decriminalizing marijuana ("Perils of decriminalization," June 21).

A move to decriminalize marijuana would leave behind the deadly drug-dealing marketplace of Baltimore's street corners. Most people do not realize that alcohol prohibition was the decriminalization of alcohol. It was only illegal to manufacture, transport and sell, not to possess or consume.

Where do I disagree? The consequences of our poor drug management system of prohibition can't get much worse (violence, tainted drugs, availability to children, arrests and incarceration, police/community relations, etc.).

As for driving while under the influence of drugs, police are already trained as drug recognition experts. And I must say, as prevalent the use of marijuana is, it has never been a significant problem for law enforcement and traffic enforcement.

I applaud Mr. Bernstein's efforts to reduce the criminalization of non-violent marijuana users and redirecting limited resources toward reducing violent crime.

Neill Franklin, White Hall

The writer is executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

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