Maryland ranked last in personal freedom

Maryland has earned yet another dubious distinction: The lowest-ranked state for personal freedom in the country.  

A recent study, "Freedom in the 50 states," from the market-oriented Mercatus Center at George Mason University faults Maryland's strict gun control laws, extensive automobile regulations, tight gambling laws, burdensome home-schooling laws and high drug arrest rates for our state's low ranking. 

Maryland -- nicknamed "The Free State" -- is also ranked 28th in economic freedom and 43rd in overall freedom. 

The study faults Maryland for "severe" labor regulation, high health insurance coverage mandates, eminent domain abuse and smoking bans. 

And the state has been getting consistently less free since 2007, the study states. 

Which are the freest states in the country? New Hampshire (which famously refuses to enact a seatbelt law) and South Dakota (which has low taxes and government spending). 

How can Maryland improve its ranking? 

The research center recommends legalizing same-sex unions, decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession and strengthening medical marijuana laws, and rolling back demands for occupational licensing in fields in which they're not necessary. 



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