WBALTV: Heather Mizeur: Taxing marijuana to provide revenue for education

The legalization of marijuana has been an issue in this year's race largely because of one candidate's campaign platform.

So WBAL-TV 11 News asked the question to all the candidates running for Maryland's top office: What do they think about legalizing and taxing marijuana?

Nobody is as out front on the question of marijuana use as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur.

"We'll pay for it by legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults," Mizeur said.

Mizeur supports full legalization of marijuana use, up to an amount 1 ounce.

"Marijuana prohibition makes our communities less safe and wastes valuable law enforcement resources. Why should we treat something less toxic and addictive any differently than alcohol or tobacco? Legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana will provide Maryland with a dedicated revenue stream to make overdue and critical investments in early childhood education," Mizeur said.

But the other Democrats are more cautious. Both Doug Gansler and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown support the vote by the Maryland Legislature this year to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. But they are not ready to take the next step to legalization.

"I do not support the legalization of marijuana at this time. The states of Colorado and Washington -- two states that have legalized it -- will provide an example of the socio-economic challenges and pitfalls to marijuana legalization. We will learn from their experiences and assess whether additional changes to Maryland's law are warranted," Anthony Brown said.

"Any discussion of complete legalization should include Maryland's health professionals, law enforcement, and community organizations, and be based on what is best for the health and security of families and children, not a rush to tax a new source of income to address budget pressures," Attorney General Doug Gansler said. 

On the Republican side of the primary, WBAL-TV asked about whether marijuana should be legalized.

All four Republican candidates for governor are on the same page on this issue.

David Craig, Ron George, Larry Hogan and Charles Lollar said no.

But Hogan said he's interested to see how it goes with decriminalization in Maryland approved by the Legislature this past session, which was signed into law.

"While I don't want to make it easier for people to use drugs, locking up someone for a very small amount of marijuana seems unjust. The Hogan-Rutherford administration will closely monitor decriminalization here in Maryland and the experiences of other states," Hogan said.

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