Democrat gubernatorial candidate Alec Ross got in the spirit of Friday’s pop culture “holiday,” releasing a video in which he tries to articulate as many “weed puns” as possible in 30 seconds.
Releasing the video on April 20 plays into the day’s date corresponding with a popular code term of cannabis culture and consumption - 420. Ross took the occasion to draw attention to his campaign platform to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis sales in the state. The plan would generate tax revenue and help ameliorate social justice issues tied to the enforcement of current drug laws, the campaign sites.
“It makes little sense for marijuana to be illegal in this day and age, and the costs of doing so are increasingly unbearable,” reads a statement on Ross’ campaign website. “Meanwhile, we are prosecuting and incarcerating people for nonviolent crimes and crushing their chances for social mobility. It is time to create a taxed, regulated market for safe and legal marijuana.”
Ross is not alone in his less punitive approach to drug policy amongst other Democratic candidates.
Former NAACP President Ben Jealous touts the benefits commercial cannabis has brought to other states and also sees legalisation as part of a broader criminal justice reform platform. Former Michale Obama police adviser Krish Vignarajah supports legalization as well, citing its potential in the fight against opioid addiction. Attorney Jim Shea sees the potential financial windfall of legal cannabis and also the longstanding effects of prohibition on minority communities. State Senator Richard Madelano sponsored a bill during the 2017 legislative session that would legalize the sale of cannabis and put a 9% excise tax on it.
Montgomery County Executive Rushern Baker supports the wave of decriminalization that has grown in Maryland and other states, but has not come down in favor of outright legalization. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz does not have a formal play or position on cannabis.