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[caption id="attachment_19978" align="alignleft" width="300"]Illustration by Ben Claassen III Illustration by Ben Claassen III[/caption] As a number of lawmakers, such as Del. Curt Anderson, Del. Sheila Hixson, and Sen. Jamie Raskin,  take a courageous step towards ending the failed war on drugs in Maryland, Governor O'Malley and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake continue to take a cowardly, pusillanimous approach. (Now that $RB is taking O'Malley's spots on Sunday morning programs, it's less likely than ever she will ever disagree with her bossman). Yesterday, as the Sun reported, the mayor said: "I don't think it serves anybody's purpose to clog up the system with this type of offense, but I'm not going to be waving the Schmoke flag of legalization." Madame Mayor, I must ask with all due respect, are you a sadist, or just a fucking idiot? As if the only problem is clogging up the system? "I wouldn't want those bureaucrats to have to do some extra paper work, but . . . " How about the people whose lives are ruined, not by marijuana, but by being arrested for marijuana? The ACLU issued a report last year that reported that Baltimore City has the 5th highest incarceration rate for African Americans on marijuana charges. For white people, like me, arrest rates have dropped  20 percent since the days of O'Malley's draconian enforcement. So I can pretty safely walk down the street with a one-hitter. But that rate has risen by 20 percent for African Americans. Do you not see the fucking problem with this, Madame mayor? Seriously. You're hitching your political wagon to the wrong horse if you think history will see you in a good light on this. But, instead of recognizing this racial disparity, which even the Sun called the "new Jim Crow," and supporting laws that would no longer imprison people she wants to support "diversion programs" and hope. "My hope is that more people would participate, so they wouldn't find themselves being arrested," she says. Ah, hope. A drug far more powerful than the most chronic weed.  Since you seem hooked on that shit, how about hope people will participate in diversion programs and make it so they won't end up in the criminal justice system if they do? And one more thing. Even if you were to support legalization, you would not be "be waving the Schmoke flag of legalization." Schmoke supported legalization back in the height of the war on drugs when it was extremely unpopular and politically dangerous. Schmoke's support of decriminalization took actual courage. If you were to support it, it would simply be a politically expedient move. As you will learn. Because, by the time you are up for election again, decriminalization will be even more popular than it is today, when 53 percent of voters supporting it,  and you will be seen as a sadistic coward. Your political BFF is on the wrong side of history and you are sinking your own future here. You don't have to have the courage of Schmoke to recognize the political expedience of legal smoke.

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