Law enforcement group opposes effort to leagalize marijuana in Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A group of Maryland law enforcement officials have come out against the effort to legalize marijuana in the state.

The Maryland Chiefs of Police Association plans to hold a media event at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Lawyers' Mall in Annapolis to outline their concerns.

The rally comes as two bills that would decriminalize marijuana will get their first hearing Tuesday in a Senate committee.

A bill filed by Sen. Robert Zirkin would make it a civil offense to possess less than 10 grams worth of marijuana, punishable by a $100 fine but no longer attached to any criminal charge. The other bill, filed by Sen. Jamie Raskin, would make marijuana possession legal for people 21 or older.

“Chiefs and Sheriffs, representing the Maryland law enforcement community, understand the basis of the legislation but nevertheless are adamantly opposed,” Maryland Chiefs of Police Association said in a statement. “Maryland law enforcement executives believe, if enacted, this legislation will have a potentially crippling effect on public safety, highway safety and, most troubling, will negatively impact children.”

Among the organizations concerns about legalizing marijuana includes a fear of an increase in traffic accidents due to people being under the influence of drugs, along with negatively impacting police’s ability to detect other illegal drugs.

Dels. Curt Anderson and Heath Mizeur are among the legislators that favor legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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