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Decriminalizing pot has adverse effects

Maryland State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby testifies before U.S. House members about marijuana reform.

The headline of your article on Marilyn Mosby’s testimony to Congress this week was astounding in its contradictions (“Mosby: City shows how war on drugs failed. Calls on government to decriminalize marijuana,” July 11). Apparently, she is recommending the federal government decriminalize marijuana because the drug war has failed her city, a city where marijuana has already been decriminalized. And what evidence did she provide Congress that decriminalization has worked well in Baltimore? She neglected to mention the murder rate has skyrocketed since the 2014 law was enacted.

Some might blame the ongoing situation on Freddie Gray’s death, but almost all of the violence now has to do with gang turf wars. Look to Denver for what will happen if Maryland takes the next step of full legalization. The murder rate there has gone up by 76% since 2012, according to data on the Denver police website. The black market has exploded, according to news reports, and foreign cartels have moved in to take advantage of a land where marijuana can hide in plain sight because it is everywhere. And I mean everywhere, as I witnessed on a recent trip. To reach my $150 a night hotel room near their airport, I had to walk through a lobby that reeked of the pot residue clinging to guests’ clothes.

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Driving south to Pueblo, Colo., it was necessary to set my car’s air vents on recirculate to block the stench coming in from passing cars. Yes, they are using while they are driving, and it shows in the increasing traffic fatality rates published by the Colorado Department of Transportation, as well as in the resulting toxicology screens which document a nearly three-fold increase in fatalities involving cannabis. Increasingly, I am seeing evidence for marijuana use by drivers here. This spring, I emerged from my local office supply company to find the car next to mine was filled with pot smoke. When I knocked on the car’s window to tell the driver he shouldn’t be smoking pot and driving, he remained unperturbed and drove casually away. It was with a sinking heart that I dialed 911 because I knew if he headed south in to Baltimore, he was heading to safe territory for him.

Marilyn Mosby announced earlier this year she will not prosecute any marijuana crimes. Is Ms. Mosby really the best expert Maryland has to offer Congress on the marijuana issue?

Christine Miller, Baltimore

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