While a number of places all over the world have vouched for the effectiveness of marijuana decriminalization, a top Maryland prosecutor bringing the heat in Prince George’s County, located just outside the District of Columbia, believes that stripping the criminal penalties away from pot possession has contributed to a recent spike in murders throughout the county.
During a recent interview on WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show, Maryland State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks suggested that an increase in murders in Prince George’s County is likely due to the state’s decision last year to decriminalize marijuana. Her rationality for this argument is that ever since decriminalization took effect, area gangs have been engaged in a vicious turf war to gain control over the black market drug trade. She insists that with police now unable to conduct random searches for marijuana, more guns are now being carried, which is leading to more street disputes being settled with deadly force.
"The decriminalization of marijuana has really driven the violence we have seen this year in Prince George's.” Alsobrooks said. "What we're seeing is they're fighting for turf. The marijuana dealers are fighting."
"We no longer have the ability to search individuals who have small amounts of marijuana," she continued. " We're also concerned were having individuals who also possess guns who are not searched and we are not able to search incident to arrests and to recovers guns. And so were going to have to find a new way to get some of the guns off the streets.”
It is obvious that Alsobrooks’ ridiculous concept, which suggests that the elimination of penalties for minor possession has led to a murderous rampage, is rooted in pot prejudice and an absolute buy-in to decades of propaganda.
"I have seen too many lives destroyed by marijuana,” she explained. “I may as well go ahead and say it. I'm so concerned about what I see with young people who are using marijuana and who are in our courtrooms for violent offenses because they are selling it they are killing each other because of it but they are also dropping out of school. It is a very big problem that we have to address as a community."
Not long after the broadcast, the Prince George’s County Police Department issued a statement supporting Alsobrooks and her contemptible assertions. Although the department did not go as far as to explicitly suggest that marijuana decriminalization was leading to an increase in murder, they did say “the illegal drug trade is a contributing factor to our homicide rate this year.”
The prosecutor’s comments and criticism of the state’s decriminalization law, which is a well-respected policy, sparked an uprising of controversy shortly after the airing of the interview. Several media outlets have since attempted to contact Alsobrooks for clarification, but she has refused to elaborate on the subject any further. However, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office has come out to say that Alsobrooks’ opinions are simply “theories” and are not supported by hard data.
The truth is decriminalization works. Areas that have adopted this policy have seen drastic reductions in drug-related crime, not to mention fewer overall arrests for marijuana offenses. In addition, police are able to focus more on combating violent crime, while the court system is not being filled with a bunch of small time pot offenders. Sure, the black market drug trade still exists, but decriminalization laws work to ensure that only those running illegal dope commerce in the streets are at risk of criminal prosecution.
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