Green Leaf Medical Cannabis (copy)

Buds of freshly cut marijuana at Green Leaf Medical LLC, a medical cannabis growing operation in Frederick County.

If the legalization of recreational marijuana comes up in the next General Assembly, the two candidates who are elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in District 3A could be asked to take a stance.

Republican candidates Mike Bowersox and James Dvorak and Democratic sitting delegates Carol Krimm and Karen Lewis Young weighed in on the subject this week, with only one of the four stating a hard opposition.

While supporting the benefits of medical cannabis with the assurance of appropriate regulation, Bowersox said via email that he is not in favor of the legalization of recreational marijuana.

“While the majority of my fellow Marylanders may be in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, I do not support this action,” he said. “I view marijuana as a gateway drug that leads to experimentation, and eventually addiction, to the more serious drugs such as cocaine and heroin. We all know families that have personally been affected by drug addiction and their struggles through rehabilitation.”

Bowersox added that “drugs are a major contributing factor to criminal activity impacting the safety of our citizens,” and said he is concerned about law enforcement officials’ ability to “quantifiably detect a vehicle operator’s impairment from recreational marijuana use.”

He also commented on the subject from the employer of “hundreds of personnel going into client homes and businesses.”

“I am concerned how this use could impact those relationships and their ability to professionally perform their work,” he said.

Dvorak said via email that he has opened his mind to legalizing recreational marijuana after reviewing its benefits in other states.

“I have never been a proponent of legalized recreational marijuana, but after seeing studies from Colorado which showed a stark decrease in the number of opioid overdoses and deaths after recreational marijuana was legalized, it is certainly something that I am willing to investigate more closely,” he said. “I cannot say at this time that I am ‘for’ legalization, but I am also not ‘opposed’ to the idea and will look into the issue more closely, especially if elected.”

Dvorak added that if it is legalized, he would support using the tax revenue to fund Maryland schools. He also said that if elected, he plans to hold monthly meetings in the district to gauge constituents’ thoughts on specific bills and initiatives.

“If and when such a vote on legalization came up, I would bring it up to the citizens of Dist. 3A and get their thoughts before voting,” he said.

Krimm, who is running for re-election, expressed cautious support for the idea if lawmakers work out any kinks beforehand.

“Maryland has some issues with implementing the medical marijuana, which I totally support, and I think that we need to get that right before we start expanding to legalizing recreational marijuana,” she said via phone. “There are things that need to be answered in Maryland and addressed in law. For example, people who are under the influence and driving, how do we handle that in our law? We need to talk about impact to health for recreational marijuana, we need to have that full discussion in Annapolis. And then I think that if a bill comes forward to put it on the ballot I would support that.”

Lewis Young, who is also running for re-election, said in an email that she would support legalization of recreational marijuana based on research she has performed.

“Prohibition has failed to reduce the use of marijuana, while wasting billions of dollars and resulting in hundreds of thousands of racially oriented arrests each year,” she said. “Legalization would allow individuals over 21 to use a relatively safe substance without the threat of arrest, and allow all levels of government to raise new revenues from cannabis sales and redirect resources to more pressing needs.”

Lewis Young also provided a list of facts about the states and jurisdictions that have legalized recreational marijuana and the benefits they have seen. She also referenced a five-year study in the Journal of American Medical Directors Association that suggested cannabis might prevent people from graduating to “hard” drugs.

“No studies have produced evidence about any significant harmful effects from recreational marijuana. Nor is there any scientific evidence that it is a gateway drug,” she said. “Clearly, it is less harmful than alcohol, cigarettes, and many prescription painkillers.”

She also said that if recreational marijuana its legalized, lawmakers need to make sure they distinguish it from medical cannabis in terms of use and taxes.

Voters will elect two candidates in the upcoming general election to represent District 3A, which covers the city of Frederick and some surrounding areas. Delegates serve four-year terms and make $50,330 a year. Early voting for the general election begins Oct. 25, and Election Day is Nov. 6.

Follow Mallory Panuska on Twitter:

@MalloryPanuska.

(20) comments

LeonardKeepers

i have to agree with Mr bowersox no to legalizing marijuana.just another way to get money for which would be spent getting people off drugs

jagman

This is very good news for Maryland citizens. Also,the White House recently announced they would work with Congress to reform MJ laws at the federal level. Notably to allow states (remember the 10th amendment) to determine MJ legality.
It would certainly restore some sanity in our corrupt drug law apparatus.
Lets hope all this news turns out to be true.

MD1756

Legalizing recreational use of marijuana is about as good news as is legal tobacco smoking. I certainly do not consent to be taxed to pay for the problems that will be caused if smoking marijuana is legalized. I will also hold responsible, the politicians who vote for it if legalization causes increased deaths of innocent people from increased fatal traffic accidents etc. I also don't want to pay for any economic issues it may cause for any of the users wasting their money to get high. Lewis Young didn't look too hard if she didn't find any information about the potential harmful effects. From Univ of Rochester Medical Center: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=1&contentid=1925 The Journal of Neuroscience has published a study which recommends further study but shows that even recreational use may be associated with brain abnormalities: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/34/16/5529 From Harvard Medical School: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/states-legalize-marijuana-parents-teens-need-know-2017022811256. In short, we do not need the issues that will come with legalizing marijuana.

jerseygrl42

"recreational", so now its a sport...as if we don't have enough problems with drugs of all sorts ...can't fix STUPID and this idea is really STUPID...guess some folks are looking at tax revenue rather than the big picture

CRSmith88

tax revenue is the big picture.

pappyjoe

If they legalize weed my tomato patch will have company. If the local government wants to tax it they will have to reduce my real-estate tax first or make a code for tax deduction on my income tax. It was my doctor in pain management that got me hooked on pain meds not the weed and the weed took me through withdraws and serves as a great substitute for managing my pain now. The MM bounce will dump money into not making weed recreational because they would turn into a 7-11 store.

sej58

Bowersox does not have a clue what he is talking about.

DickD

If we are going to allow recreational marijana we need to strengthen our laws of DUI. I would recommend a three months sentence for the first time and more for additional DUI"s. After the third time you lose your license.

CRSmith88

You lose your license on the first time currently, temporarily. You also currently get pee tested, randomly. I doubt that will change. Maybe we should lax up the DUI laws like when ya'll were kids. Have the cops follow the old man home and knock off a brewski with him there to talk it out.

LJF0929

Lewis Young has the best response amongst the others mentioned in the article. Allowing folks to grow their own medicine (yes, people use alchohol as medicine - helps one relax) and turn away from huge manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies keeps money in citizens pockets and frees up law enforcement to do their jobs.

DickD

If we legalize it, it should be allowed to home grow it. In fact, how could they stop that.

So much for the farce of medical marijana.

Dwasserba

She does her research before the question is even asked of her. '"No studies have produced evidence about any significant harmful effects from recreational marijuana. Nor is there any scientific evidence that it is a gateway drug,' she said."'

User1

Should have read the latest article on this the past two weeks. It stated that test have proven its use was harmful to children. And how do we enforce second hand smoke issues? If parents want to light up in their house with a baby do you agree with that? What about the issues like D.C. has. Recreational for in home use ONLY yet the mayor has directed the police NOT to enforce the “minor” violations of people smoking in their cars while driving or walking down the street. And again it STILL is against federal law to use it..even medicinally! So don’t expect to be able to legally purchase a firearm...because you can’t!

cleanrunoff

Ya know, when we restore the federal drug policy to some sanity and legalize recreational cannabis at the federal level, people who argue that it is a "gateway" drug and point to it's ruinous effects are going to be shocked at all the people who have been using it discretely for the last 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years and are successful, smart, creative, and massive contributors to the betterment of society. But I suppose they prefer lost weekends in front of the football game on TV with a 12 pack of whatever swill makes them feel good. And that's fine, live and let live is a reasonable position for folks who do not want to control our private lives.

DickD

There are reports of marijana being addictive to 16% of the users. And it remains in the blood stream for 30 days, vs. Alcohol about 24 hours.

Mickey7

Cannabis is not physically addictive. Psychological addiction can exist in anything any substance any activity. I Do not want anyone intoxicated on any substance. Tests are being developed to detect recent use of cannabis. All I know is when I was Nam the drunks got in fights but the stoned never did!

rbtdt5

All them juicers ever wanted to do was fight. Luckily we just point them toward charlie and let them go. Some guys just held on to their stuff animals (like big bird) and hoped for the best.

jagman

Exactly. The long running narrative of the "crazed pot smoker" put forth by the dwindling number of anti-drug warriors has always been a lie.
Alcoholics beat their wives, kids and dogs. Cigarette smokers die of small cell lung cancer. Both are legal. I have never known a pot smoker who was violent and there is emerging evidence that cannabinoids may help fight off cancer cells.
Time to get this done.

Mickey7

[thumbup] clean

jamesnee

Nature: get with it.

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