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Neill Franklin, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP):
“It’s time for our state legislature to do right by the people and end marijuana prohibition in Maryland”
[Freddie Allen / NNPA]

Tuesday Evening, December 13 Event Will Address the Disproportionate Impact of Enforcement on People of Color

Retired Baltimore police officer and Maryland State Police Maj. Neill Franklin will serve as keynote speaker

A public forum titled, “Legalizing Marijuana: The Impact on Racial Justice in Baltimore City,” will be held Tuesday, December 13, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. in the Assembly Room of the Baltimore War Memorial at 101 N. Gay St.

The Department of Justice recently reported that African-Americans in Baltimore are five times more likely to be arrested for drug possession than people of other races. Marijuana is the substance most commonly involved.

The forum will address the disproportionate impact of marijuana enforcement on people of color in Baltimore City, as well as the prospects for eliminating that disparity through the legal regulation of cannabis.

Many people in Maryland were criminally charged with marijuana possession in 2015, despite the state’s adoption of a law decriminalizing possession of small amounts. Ninety-six percent of them were African-American, according to Baltimore City records.

The event is sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project in partnership with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and the Baltimore Student Harm Reduction Coalition.

LEAP’s Maj. Neill Franklin To Deliver Racial Justice Keynote

The keynote speaker will be retired Baltimore police officer and Maryland State Police Maj. Neill Franklin, a 34-year law enforcement veteran who now serves as executive director of LEAP. Prior to joining the Baltimore Police Department, Franklin spent 23 years with the Maryland State Police Department. During that time he worked as an undercover narcotics officer and as head trainer for drug enforcement.

“In many states across this country we have begun the work of ending mass arrests for marijuana possession, yet in my home city of Baltimore we continue using marijuana as a pretext for stops, searches and arrests, resulting in the disenfranchisement of Black citizens,” Franklin said. “It’s time for our state legislature to do right by its people and end the prohibition of marijuana in Maryland.

“A regulated market will not only end disparate policing practices, but it will free our police to focus more resources on crimes of violence,” Franklin said.

The event is free and open to the public. Details are at


WHAT: Public forum on marijuana policy and racial justice in Baltimore City

WHEN: Tuesday, December 13, 6:30 p.m. ET

WHERE: Baltimore War Memorial, Assembly Room, 101 N. Gay Street, Baltimore, MD

WHO: Maj. Neill Franklin, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Kate Bell, Marijuana Policy Project
Community activists

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