Bernstein, Shellenberger Testify For Option Of Shorter Marijuana Sentence …

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Robert Lang

Audio

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein talks about this bill.

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Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein is among the prosecutors urging lawmakers to allow prosecutors to seek shorter sentences in some marijuana possession cases.

Bernstein was in Annapolis Tuesday to testify before the House Judiciary Committee which was considering a bill to allow prosecutors to pursue a maximum 90-day jail term for those convicted of possessing less than 14-grams of marijuana.  Current law calls for a maximum one-year jail term.

Bernstein says the legislation is, “a small thing that would have a large impact.”

Bernstein says the charge with the longer sentence gives defendants the option of moving their case from district court, to a jury trial in circuit court.

Bernstein says that option creates a backlog of cases in circuit courts.

Bernstein says this bill does not weaken the penalties for marijuana possession, noting prosecutors can still seek a marijuana possession charge with a longer sentence.

Bernstein says that this legislation is similar to changes made to the theft statute which was revised several years ago.

Besides Bernstein, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger testified in favor of the bill.

A similar bill is being considered in the Senate.

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… And this will also allow recidivists for get stoned sooner when they are released from their shortened sentence to do it all over again. …

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