It is time to decriminalize marijuana in Maryland ("Senate panel advances new medical marijuana plan," March 25). Possession of under 10 grams of marijuana should not put a person in jail and give them a criminal record that can dog them the rest of their lives. The League of Women Voters of Maryland supports the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana, making it a civil offense that would result in a fine.

It is in the state's economic interest to decriminalize marijuana as prosecution and incarceration of minor offenders is a multimillion dollar expense for Maryland. These funds could be used for social programs to deal with addiction and other social ills.

Senate Bill 364 to decriminalize marijuana has passed the Maryland Senate in a bipartisan vote 36-8 and is now being considered in the House Judiciary Committee. Its outcome is uncertain. This is a bill that Marylanders should support.

Susan Cochran, Edgewater

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