UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WUSA9) — Prince George’s County’s top prosecutor has sparked controversy by blaming a spike in murders on Maryland’s 2014 decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Now, Maryland State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks is refusing to be interviewed to explain her comments. A spokesman said her ideas on decriminalization and violence are only theories that have not yet been proven by crime statistics.
Alsobrooks’ comments fly against popular opinion. Decriminalization, which reduces possession of small amounts of marijuana to the level of a traffic ticket, is supported by a majority of Marylanders. The measure is particularly popular in Prince George’s, where there is concern that the lives of too many African-American young men have been derailed by low-level, non-violent drug convictions.
But Alsobrooks told WAMU radio host Kojo Nnamdi that decriminalization is the cause of Prince George’s 30 percent spike in murders from 43 at this time in 2014 to 61 at this time in 2015.
“The decriminalization of marijuana has really driven the violence we have seen this year in Prince George’s”, Alsobrooks said during Nnamdi’s show. “What we’re seeing is they’re fighting for turf. The marijuana dealers are fighting.”
Alsobrooks said police have been hampered by the law. “We no longer have the ability to search individuals who have small amounts of marijuana,” she said. ” 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”
Alsobrooks added: “I have seen too many lives destroyed by marijuana. 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.”
Prince George’s County police officials declined to be interviewed about whether or not decriminalization may be linked to a spike in violence.
In a written statement, police spokesman Christina Cotterman said: “The Prince George’s County Police Department constantly analyzes crime trends. The illegal drug trade is a contributing factor to our homicide rate this year, as is retaliation and domestic violence among other factors. We will continue to strive to arrest those who choose to solve their problems with violence.”
Prince George’s County Council President Mel Franklin said “it’s too soon to tell” if there is a link. He cautioned that decriminalization is an important public police intended to address the “mass incarceration” of African Americans on low-level, non-violent convictions.
Alsobrooks has a long history of advocating for diversion programs to avoid prosecuting low-level marijuana offenses in favor of treatment, counselling and drug court.
4 thoughts on “Marijuana decriminalization blamed for murder spike in Prince George’s Co.”
“….blaming a spike in murders on Maryland’s 2014 decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana.”
Wow. This goes to show that they really think you’re an idiot who’ll believe anything, but what’s really disturbing about the statement is that it was made because he’s accustomed to people believing anything.
“Alsobrooks has a long history of advocating for diversion programs to avoid prosecuting low-level marijuana offenses in favor of treatment, counselling and drug court.”
Greater mammon extraction than jail time provides.
“… blaming a spike in murders on Maryland’s 2014 decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana.”
“They also said that artificial sweeteners were safe, WMDs were in Iraq and Anna Nicole married for love.”
Brings a new meaning to…Hey man, come on over.
I’ve got some “Killer Weed”.