Marijuana Politics: Now a Campaign Issue in Maryland

Today’s minor news on the marijuana front comes in Time’s interview with Joe Biden. Asked about the president’s comments about marijuana, made during interviews for his New Yorker profile, Biden pivots to sentencing reform. “I support the President’s policy,” he says. “I think the idea of focusing significant resources on interdicting or convicting people for smoking marijuana is a waste of our resources.” This represents a sort of shift from the norm, when Biden blurts out something and the president has to respond.

The Biden interview, we’re told, occured on the Amtrak from D.C to Philadelphia. That means it cut through Maryland, where dark-horse gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur, a Democratic state delegate, is asking the front-runners (the lieutenant governor and the attorney general) to join her in backing decriminalization of marijuana. The state’s Maryland Marijuana Decriminalization Act, which would reduce penalties for an ounce of the stuff to a $100 fine, may have the votes to pass in a legislature run by Democratic supermajorities. Mizeur wants to make sure.

“I was pleased to read about your support for this initiative,” she writes to Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in a letter. “Reform of marijuana laws is far from outside the mainstream views of leaders across the country; and here in Maryland, a recent Goucher poll reported just 6 percent of Marylanders favored jail time as a consequence for marijuana possession.”