A mod­est pro­posal

Our view: If Ho­gan is go­ing to gov­ern by polls, why stop with school cal­en­dars?

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Whereas, Whereas, Whereas, Whereas, Whereas, Whereas, Whereas, Whereas, Whereas, Whereas, Whereas, Whereas, Now, *Note to our read­ers who may have re­pressed all mem­o­ries of high school English class: The use of the phrase “a mod­est pro­posal” is a ref­eren

The news that Gov. Larry Ho­gan has is­sued a sec­ond ex­ec­u­tive order to force school dis­tricts to start the aca­demic year after La­bor Day in an at­tempt to en­sure that his will is thor­oughly im­posed on state and lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing his own ap­pointees, got us won­der­ing what cause will prompt him to take up his pen next. If the cri­te­ria are the same as those he has used to jus­tify mon­key­ing with what has al­ways been the pre­rog­a­tive of lo­cal school boards, we have a pretty good idea. Here­with a mod­est pro­posal* for Gover­nor Ho­gan’s next ex­ec­u­tive order.

the cul­ti­va­tion of cannabis is an Amer­i­can in­sti­tu­tion dat­ing to colo­nial times, when the plant was widely grown for use in rope­mak­ing and other ap­pli­ca­tions;

gen­er­a­tions of Amer­i­cans have used mar­i­juana as a means to re­lax and en­joy time with fam­ily and friends;

laws crim­i­nal­iz­ing the pos­ses­sion of mar­i­juana have im­per­iled that ven­er­a­ble tra­di­tion;

this pol­icy has placed a sig­nif­i­cant com­pet­i­tive bur­den on Mary­land’s econ­omy and many of its lead­ing sec­tors, from agri­cul­ture to tourism;

this pol­icy places an un­ac­cept­able pub­lic health and safety risk on those users who are forced to seek out sup­plies of the drug on the black mar­ket;

the state has a par­tic­u­larly com­pelling in­ter­est in safe­guard­ing the phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal well be­ing of mi­nors, who are able to ac­cess mar­i­juana out­side of the state-con­trolled reg­u­la­tory frame­works de­signed to con­trol un­der-age use of other po­ten­tially harm­ful vices such as al­co­hol and tobacco;

a re­cent Wash­ing­ton Post poll found that 61per­cent of Mary­land vot­ers sup­port le­gal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana for recre­ational use, a num­ber grow­ing rapidly and ap­proach­ing the 74 per­cent who sup­ported post-La­bor Day school in the same poll;

ev­i­dence from opin­ion polls of the pop­u­lar­ity of an idea that vot­ers may not have thought through is the ba­sis for sound pub­lic pol­icy;

the thresh­old of $74.3 mil­lion in di­rect eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and $7.7 mil­lion in new tax rev­enue has been es­tab­lished as suf­fi­cient to jus­tify ex­ec­u­tive in­tru­sion into a pol­icy area that had pre­vi­ously been un­der­stood to be the purview of oth­ers;

Colorado, a state with a smaller pop­u­la­tion that is lo­cated much far­ther from ma­jor East Coast mar­kets, ex­pects soon to clear $1 bil­lion in an­nual mar­i­juana sales (not count­ing an­cil­lary im­pacts such as ho­tel stays, bong sales and more fre­quent late-night Taco Bell runs) and more than $100 mil­lion in tax rev­enues;

the opin­ions of state and lo­cal of­fi­cials with ex­per­tise in a given sub­ject mat­ter, in­clud­ing the gover­nor’s own ap­pointees, is ir­rel­e­vant;

re­peated stated op­po­si­tion to an idea by the Gen­eral Assem­bly is no im­ped­i­ment to gu­ber­na­to­rial pol­i­cy­mak­ing;

there­fore, I, Lawrence J. Ho­gan Jr., gover­nor of the state of Mary­land, by virtue of the au­thor­ity vested in me by the con­sti­tu­tion and laws of Mary­land (good sense, prece­dent and the opin­ion of the at­tor­ney gen­eral not­with­stand­ing) hereby pro­claim the fol­low­ing ex­ec­u­tive order shall take ef­fect im­me­di­ately:

That pos­ses­sion of small amounts of mar­i­juana shall be le­gal in Mary­land.

That each lo­cal po­lice depart­ment and state’s at­tor­ney shall re­tain dis­cre­tion over law en­force­ment un­less it con­tra­dicts the whims of the state’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

That a lo­cal ju­ris­dic­tion may ap­ply to the state po­lice an­nu­ally for a waiver to the re­quire­ments of this ex­ec­u­tive order. A waiver shall only be granted only if a ju­ris­dic­tion demon­strates a com­pelling jus­ti­fi­ca­tion. For the pur­poses of this ex­ec­u­tive order, a “com­pelling jus­ti­fi­ca­tion” means only the ex­is­tence of an­other lo­cal is­sue the gover­nor can butt into that is of in­ex­pli­ca­ble in­ter­est to Comptroller Pe­ter Fran­chot, such as the lack of air con­di­tion­ing in schools.

Given un­der my hand and the great seal of the state of Mary­land, in the city of An­napo­lis, this 13th day of Oc­to­ber, 2016.

Lawrence J. Ho­gan, Gover­nor

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