Marijuana, earlier pre-K on agenda in Annapolis

ANNAPOLIS - Lawmakers in Annapolis will state their cases on two controversial programs Thursday morning.

Making marijuana legal and regulated like alcohol and getting kids to school at an earlier age top the agenda in the General Assembly.

State House and Senate leaders along with a coalition of marijuana supporters will try to persuade the rest of the legislature to regulate and tax marijuana like buying a bottle of booze

Supporters say it could be a source of new revenue and new surveys show that more than 60 percent of Marylanders surveyed don't see smoking weed as any more harmful than alcohol.

But people against it say marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to more harmful behavior.

Colorado legalized the commercial production, sale, and recreational use of marijuana at the start of 2014 and Washington State's legal marijuana industry is expected to open for business around the middle of the year. Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state would join 20 others and the District of Columbia in allowing the marijuana for medical use.

Just across the hallway, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and others will gather to discuss expanding pre-kindergarten education.

Supporters say it helps children get started learning earlier in life. Detractors say it's expensive and doesn't make much of a difference.

The Associated Press and Getty Images contributed to this story.

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