D.C. voters have spoken and are prepared to bring a ballot measure that would either decriminalize small amounts of marijuana or legalize it altogether. But, city councilmembers aren’t convinced that having the voters write the policy is the best idea. Marion Berry (D-Ward 8) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) are just two that are looking at a decriminalization bill that would beat voters to the punch. [Read more…]
It was a big week in the world of Maryland criminal law as the Governor took on the death penalty and medical marijuana—two very hot topics. According to the Washington Post, Governor Martin O’Malley held a ceremony that lasted over two hours, signing 266 measures that passed in the last legislative session. But, the death penalty repeal and medical marijuana laws were likely the most popular. [Read more…]
It’s no longer shocking to see headlines where massive numbers of people speak out in support of marijuana legalization. It’s a growing phenomena and as the people increasingly support freeing up pot, the questions about federal involvement similarly increase.
According to the latest poll from Public Policy Polling, people in the District of Columbia are the latest to add their voices to the steady hum of those calling for legalization. [Read more…]
A cloud of marijuana smoke is moving across the country, changing laws and the views of many people on the vilified plant. Maryland lawmakers are the latest of many to pass legislation changing how their state deals with marijuana, potentially making their state next-up for a tightly regulated and controlled medical marijuana program. [Read more…]
A bill that would decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana has been introduced into the Maryland legislature by Senator Bobby Zirkin. And while this would seem as a promising move at first blush, many don’t believe Maryland is ready for any truly liberation of the plant. [Read more…]
Generally, neighborhood residents in the Baltimore area do not want methadone clinics in their communities. They see the clinics as breeding places for crime and loitering. But their arguments are rarely backed with statistics. A new study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, however, is backed with statistics and those stats say apprehensive community members may be wrong.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the study is the first of its kind, looking at the link between crime and methadone users.
It analyzed FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data from the Baltimore Police Department, looking closely at crime surrounding 13 different methadone clinics. The study focused on a two year period and compared those areas with the clinics to similar areas without clinics. What they found was that there was no relationship between methadone clinics and increased crime.
“I think there is still a very bad perception of methadone clinics,” said the University’s Dr. Susan Boyd. “There are many more people out there who need treatment, but there are not enough slots and clinics available, and part of it is because of the community stereotypes they have about methadone clinics.”
Methadone is a prescription drug used to ward off the cravings for opiates like heroin. By using methadone, users can avoid heroin withdrawals. While some say this is simply trading one addiction for another, others argue that methadone is not nearly the drug that heroin is.
Neighbors of the clinics see patients as drug abusers and this colors their perception of the clinic and activities surround them.
Joel Prell, operator of a Pikesville methadone clinic says he believes that residents are scared of the clinics due to misconceptions. “It’s the fear of the unknown and stereotypes. What most people don’t understand about drug treatment programs is that it works.”
At least one methadone user interviewed for the Baltimore Sun admits that before methadone, he would rob to support his heroin habit. The 73-year old methadone user says that he stopped committing crimes when he began methadone treatment.
Drug addiction is a serious battle waged by many people within the city of Baltimore, some of them come out triumphant and others don’t. For many, drugs are the gateway into the criminal justice system. Some of these people, arrested for drug-related crimes, find that they can use their arrest as an opportunity to get help.
If you have been arrested for a drug offense and are curious about your options for treatment, we may be able to help. Drug courts and other options exist to help you get off of drugs and back to a normal, productive life. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and what can be done.
A Maryland man was sentenced to 18 months in jail on a second degree assault charge, after threatening a group of people with a sword.