MPP has just released our voter guide for the Maryland gubernatorial primary election. We hope that Maryland’s Democratic voters will find this guide useful as they prepare to vote in the state’s Democratic primary elections on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. There are big differences between the candidates, whose grades range from A+ to C based on their responses to our survey, public statements, and record in office. We plan to update our voter guide with information on the general election candidates after the primary.
This is an important election because, even if marijuana legalization appears on the ballot alongside the gubernatorial candidates (which we hope it does), the governor will have a lot of influence over the implementation of taxation and regulation of marijuana. The field is still wide open, as nearly half of Democratic voters remain undecided. The voter guide also provides contact information for all the candidates, and we encourage you to contact them to share your views on marijuana policy reform — and encourage them to discuss the issue.
If you want more information on how to register to vote, please visit the Board of Elections website.
Continuing its support for sensible marijuana policies, The New York Times published an editorial Thursday asking Congress and the president to support a bill, introduced this week by Sen. Bernie Sanders, that would allow states to determine their own marijuana laws.
Support for making marijuana legal is increasing around the world, and that is a good thing. Earlier this week, the Mexican Supreme Court opened the door to legalizing the drug by giving four plaintiffs the right to grow cannabis for personal use.
In Canada, the newly sworn in prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has said he intends to change the law so people can use the drug recreationally; medicinal use is already legal in that country. And in the United States, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, recently introduced a bill that would let states decide if they want to make the drug legal without worrying about violating federal law.
Laws banning the growing, distribution and possession of marijuana have caused tremendous damage to society, with billions spent on imprisoning people for violating pointlessly harsh laws. Yet research shows that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, and can be used to treat medical conditions like chronic pain.
What’s needed now is responsible leadership from President Obama and Congress. They ought to seriously consider the kind of legislation Mr. Sanders has proposed.
Last night, the first Democratic Party national presidential debates took place, and as expected, the issue of marijuana policy was addressed. Bernie Sanders stood out by becoming the first mainstream, major party presidential candidate to publicly support regulating marijuana.
CNN has the video:
After hearing these responses, MPP has updated our Presidential Report Card and upgraded Bernie Sanders to "A", elevating him above Rand Paul to the head of the class. Hillary Clinton was also upgraded to "B" for her support of medical marijuana.
On Tuesday, Democratic primary voters in South Carolina approved a non-binding medical marijuana question. With all counties having reported, the unofficial results show the question was supported by an overwhelming 75%-25% margin! The question asked voters if “medical marijuana [should] be legalized for use in cases of severe, chronic illnesses when documented by a physician.”
While this was a non-binding question, meaning it does not change the law at all, the overwhelming support sends a clear message to South Carolina lawmakers, and Democrats specifically, that their constituents support compassionate laws.
Earlier this spring, the South Carolina Legislature took a step toward sensible marijuana laws by passing legislation allowing a limited class of patients to use marijuana low in THC, but it is so incomplete that MPP does not consider South Carolina a medical marijuana state.