For the second year in a row, a Maryland’s bill to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of marijuana is dead. And as always, the roadblock is Del. Joseph F. Vallario, Jr. (D. Prince George’s) Vallario is the 77 year-old Chairman of the Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee, and a staunch opponent of decriminalization. According to the Washington Post, Vallario believes that decriminalization sends “a bad message to the kids.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/final-day-to-do-list-for-md-lawmakers-includes-bills-on-elections-marijuana/2013/04/08/b78f2ec2-a034-11e2-82bc-511538ae90a4_story.html
Vallario refused to even allow a vote on the decriminalization bill, which would have replaced arrest and prosecution with a civil fine. The legislation had already passed the Maryland senate, but the powerful Vallario has managed to thwart reform for years. A similar bill recently passed the D.C. Council and is waiting passage of the 60 day congressional review period before becoming law. Stay tuned…but not this year.