Its popularity notwithstanding, marijuana is a gateway drug and it does affect those that use it – some more than others. I also understand that its widespread recreational use has reached "Prohibition proportions," and I am concerned for those who choose to take the risks associated with it. For example, I am concerned that those parents who smoke it in their homes may well be adversely affecting their children by the primary or secondary smoke with its added narcotic effect.
Beyond marijuana, I am greatly concerned about the use and abuse of so many other drugs, in particular the rise in heroin use. Our Nation's drug control laws continue to fail, because our people – members of family, friends, neighbors, or generally in our community – continue to buy drugs illegally and abuse them, often to their own detriment and that of their families.
The answer is not simple any more. At a time when the Maryland economy is faltering, and our state government continues to harm Maryland first through wrong-headed tax and spend policies, the last thing we need is to embark on another potentially catastrophic social experiment that could do lasting damage to an entire generation of our young people.
Therefore, I do not support legalization of marijuana, except for prescribed medical needs, and believe the General Assembly erred in passing legislation in this direction this year. I am sure, however, this debate will continue and as Governor, I will thoughtfully engage.