These young African American men aren't just statistics — they're our family members and our neighbors. They're our fathers and sons; men we meet every day at the Center for Urban Families and in communities throughout Maryland. And they're part of a growing class of Marylanders who are unable to achieve their full potential, as an arrest for even a small amount of marijuana makes it more difficult to get accepted into school, find a job or even find a place to live. Their arrest is a permanent shadow: a minor mistake that follows them for the rest of their lives, preventing them from pursuing a path toward success. We don't endorse using marijuana, any more than we endorse a minor traffic violation or a minor's use of alcohol. But by decriminalizing possession for small amounts of marijuana, we can ensure that in all three cases, a bad choice will end with a fine instead of a jail term and criminal record.