The biggest item on Mr. Brown's list of potential savings — representing $424 million or 28 percent of the total — comes from the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana, which the General Assembly approved this year. The source of this figure is an American Civil Liberties Union report estimating that Maryland spent $106 million a year on arrests, prosecution and incarceration of people charged with marijuana possession. Even assuming that's correct, there is no way the state is actually going to expend $106 million less per year as a result of decriminalization. The only way to achieve that would be to lay off massive numbers of police officers, prosecutors, judges, court clerks, corrections officers and everyone else who has played a role in marijuana enforcement. And even then, most of the savings would accrue to local governments, not the state.