A Baltimore City Council member is calling for an end to the war on drugs. Frustrated by prohibition-related violence, Council Member Bernard "Jack" Young (D-District 12), told the newspaper The Examiner Wednesday it is time to consider legalizing drugs and that he will ask the council to hold hearings on the idea.
The notion won kudos from former Mayor Kurt Schmoke, who proposed decriminalization nearly two decades ago. But Young's current colleagues in city government disagreed. "Mayor Sheila Dixon is opposed to the decriminalization of drugs," spokesman Anthony McCarthy said.
City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was also opposed, preferring to fob the solution off on the federal government. "She understands that the drug trade is 99% of the root cause of violence," said Shaun Adamec, her spokesman. "But it's an idea that needs to be addressed on a national level."
The drug laws are at the state and federal level, not the municipal level. But if it were serious, the city of Baltimore could pass municipal drug ordinances and instruct the police department to enforce only the ordinances and not prohibitionist state laws. The city could not prevent the federal government from attempting to enforce federal drug laws on the retail level, but that would require a large commitment of manpower by the DEA.