Pubdate: Fri, 16 May 2014
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2014 Sara Love
Authors: Sara Love, Dan Furmansky, Rachelle Yeung, Neill Franklin


We, members of the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland, write in
response to the editorial, "Spin control," that appeared on May 8. Our
coalition is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. We take no
position on the Maryland gubernatorial race. The purpose of this
letter is to set the record straight.

Our coalition promotes honest, fact-based dialogue regarding marijuana
use and the impact of its criminalization and advocates for the safe,
effective, efficient regulation and taxation of the sale of marijuana
in Maryland for adults. As part of our advocacy, members of our
coalition were intensively involved in the marijuana policy reform
bills, including the last-minute resurrection of Sen. Bobby Zirkin's
bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The May 8 editorial dismissed Del. Heather Mizeur's role in the
passage of marijuana decriminalization. The facts of Delegate Mizeur's
role in the marijuana decriminalization effort are as follows:
Delegate Mizeur collected an impressive number of cosponsors for her
own decriminalization bill, a bill that went even further than the
legislation that passed. This was accomplished through important
one-on-one conversations with many of her colleagues. Del. Mizeur also
enlisted a strong Republican co-lead sponsor, Del. Michael Smigiel, to
carry the bill with her. Del. Mizeur promoted the issue of marijuana
policy reform in the court of public opinion through press
conferences, press releases and social media as well as by organizing
and holding a rally for decriminalization in front of the State House.
She testified at the hearing and was an integral player in a core
group of legislators and activists working to resurrect the bill after
it was gutted by the House Judiciary Committee, helping to whip votes
and stepping aside when it seemed more appropriate for others to lead
so as to not allow politics to get in the way of policy.

The Marijuana Policy Coalition credits the passage of
decriminalization to a number of dogged advocates in the General
Assembly, and we place Del. Mizeur on a short list of those who worked
the hardest for this critical policy reform.

Sara Love, Bethesda; Dan Furmansky, Silver Spring; Rachelle Yeung,
Washington, D.C.; and Neill Franklin, White Hall The writers are
members of the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland. 
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