Cannabis

Communities that are most impacted by the war on drugs should get the most access to revenues from cannabis. We’re advocating that 60% of the tax revenues from cannabis sales should go back into the community.

The revenue should be allocated directly to local jurisdictions so that the community can have a role in how those resources are distributed. A metric should be used to determine jurisdictions most impacted by the war on drugs, and their portions of the tax revenues should be determined by that metric. The local legislature (county council) will pass an ordinance to determine specifics of how the resources are allocated within that particular jurisdiction.

Updates

Past Legislative Work

  • Advocated successfully for amendments to the (MPIA) that would allow for public access for police investigatory records. 
  • Worked to repeal the Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights and replace it with a disciplinary framework that would allow for community oversight.  Even though LEOBR was repealed – and it allowed for more community participation in the internal police disciplinary process – it did not create community oversight.
  • Partnered with Conscious Heads Barbershop to pass legislation that would allow for master barbers to apprentice three barbers at a time instead of just one.  This bill helped to support the workforce development project of Conscious Heads and Reflections Eternal to train more barbers and professionalize the industry.
  • Worked on unsuccessfully to create amendments to Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) that would allow public access to police investigatory records.  This would allow for more public oversight of law enforcement. 
  • Advocated for the creation of a $10 million fund for community based anti-violence programs as an alternative to mandatory minimum legislation.  This bill passed, was vetoed by the Governor and overridden by the legislature.
  • Passed legislation in the Baltimore City Council that established BCYF as an independent and permanent organization. 
  • Fought legislation that would authorize the establishment of a John Hopkins University (JHU) private police force.  This bill ultimately passed, but there continues to be local resistance to it.
  • Advocated for legislation that would create a Baltimore City Anti-Violence grant program as an alternative to the focus creating mandatory minimum legislation.  The justification for this legislation is that investing in Black led, grassroots anti-violence programs are more effective in deterring violence than sentence enhancements. This bill did not pass.
  • Worked with the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office to successfully pass legislation that would allow the vacatur of convictions that were based on testimony from corrupt police officers.

Fought against a bipartisan crime package that included mandatory minimum sentences – which are ineffective at addressing public safety and fueled the prison industrial complex.

  • Worked to fight against legislation that would nullify a court of appeals ruling on pretrial reform.  The MD Court of Appeals ruled to reduce the use of cash bail and prefer non-financial conditions for release. If bail was assigned, it needed to be affordable to the defendant.  The bail bonds industry put in a bill that would use the legislature to reverse that court of appeals ruling.  LBS, and our partners, worked to defeat the legislation that would have nullified this ruling –  which would lessen the burden of cash bail on poor people in Maryland.
  • Crafted legislation in the Baltimore City Council to begin the process of building the infrastructure for the Baltimore City Children and Youth Fund (BCYF).
  • Opposed and defeated a piece of legislation in the Baltimore City Council that would create a 1 year mandatory minimum for mere possession of a firearm in a public place.

Worked on amendments to LEOBR that were in the bill we advocated for in 2015 – which includes requiring that civilians serve on administrative hearing boards and the non-law enforcement entities are allowed to participate in the internal investigations of police misconduct.  The legislation that passed was a change that allowed civilians to serve on trial boards (though it is not required).  What did not pass was allowing non-law enforcement to participate in the internal investigation of police misconduct.

Worked on amendments to the Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights (LEOBR).  The primary focus of our advocacy that year was to require that civilians serve on the trial boards and to allow non-law enforcement entities to be involved in the internal investigations of police misconduct.  This bill did not make it out of committee that year.

Passed Christopher’s Law, named after Christopher Brown who was killed by an off duty police officer in Baltimore County in 2012.  This law required additional racial sensitivity and deescalation training.  Additionally, it required that police officers learn CPR, due to the fact that the officer that killed Christopher Brown could have saved him if he knew how to do CPR.

Pressured the MD legislature and governor to abandon the plan to build a new youth detention center in east Baltimore.