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Mayor high on false hope lacks courage of Schmoke

January 16, 2014
By
Illustration by Ben Claassen III

Illustration by Ben Claassen III

As a number of lawmakers, such as Del. Curt Anderson, Del. Sheila Hixson, and Sen. Jamie Raskin,  take a courageous step towards ending the failed war on drugs in Maryland, Governor O’Malley and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake continue to take a cowardly, pusillanimous approach. (Now that $RB is taking O’Malley’s spots on Sunday morning programs, it’s less likely than ever she will ever disagree with her bossman).

Yesterday, as the Sun reported, the mayor said: “I don’t think it serves anybody’s purpose to clog up the system with this type of offense, but I’m not going to be waving the Schmoke flag of legalization.”

Madame Mayor, I must ask with all due respect, are you a sadist, or just a fucking idiot? As if the only problem is clogging up the system? “I wouldn’t want those bureaucrats to have to do some extra paper work, but . . . ”

How about the people whose lives are ruined, not by marijuana, but by being arrested for marijuana? The ACLU issued a report last year that reported that Baltimore City has the 5th highest incarceration rate for African Americans on marijuana charges. For white people, like me, arrest rates have dropped  20 percent since the days of O’Malley’s draconian enforcement. So I can pretty safely walk down the street with a one-hitter. But that rate has risen by 20 percent for African Americans. Do you not see the fucking problem with this, Madame mayor? Seriously. You’re hitching your political wagon to the wrong horse if you think history will see you in a good light on this.

But, instead of recognizing this racial disparity, which even the Sun called the “new Jim Crow,” and supporting laws that would no longer imprison people she wants to support “diversion programs” and hope. “My hope is that more people would participate, so they wouldn’t find themselves being arrested,” she says.

Ah, hope. A drug far more powerful than the most chronic weed.  Since you seem hooked on that shit, how about hope people will participate in diversion programs and make it so they won’t end up in the criminal justice system if they do?

And one more thing. Even if you were to support legalization, you would not be “be waving the Schmoke flag of legalization.” Schmoke supported legalization back in the height of the war on drugs when it was extremely unpopular and politically dangerous. Schmoke’s support of decriminalization took actual courage. If you were to support it, it would simply be a politically expedient move.

As you will learn. Because, by the time you are up for election again, decriminalization will be even more popular than it is today, when 53 percent of voters supporting it,  and you will be seen as a sadistic coward. Your political BFF is on the wrong side of history and you are sinking your own future here.

You don’t have to have the courage of Schmoke to recognize the political expedience of legal smoke.

  • Art

    Once again she shows why the Boston Street rated her as the worst mayor in America. Poor leadership at all levels in Maryland and Baltimore has cursed this city for the last 16 years. She has no clue. Totally disastrous times for our city.

  • Chris M.

    I worked in Park Heights for at least five years( 2003-2008) and I only seen her in that district once to vote at St. Ambrose . She was never at any rallies to address the open air drug markets , so it does not suprise me that she does not want to take a stand on the legalzation of marijuana.

  • River Mud

    I listened to her interview on 98 Rock and it was if she just stepped out of a Nancy Reagan time capsule. She had no current information or data (when asked) about marijuana offenses, cost to the City, etc. She was extremely sheepish and just sounded absolutely afraid of the word “marijuana,” let alone the topic. $RB and so many others are confident that they’re riding O’Malley’s coattails to a cushy federal appointment in DC in a few years. Unfortunately, that means that the City of Baltimore can continue to suffer under her vacuum of leadership. The worst is yet to come, as NO Baltimore area politicians from either party are engaged in the race for the Governors office. Record breaking levels of state and federal funding for City roads, schools, and parks (with minimal result to show, I might add) will be shrunk by easily 75% for FY 2017. Add the coming increases in federal and state (EPA and MDE) demands to clean up the sewers and runoff, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year…and you have a potential disaster (or federal takeover). Mark my words. Bad times is comin’ round the bend.