We at the LSPC strongly encourage you to take the same path as Mr. Ben Rayne has and contact the 3 county council members listed below in an effort to garner attention to accurate information regarding the legality of proposed actions, as well as to let your elected officials know exactly what the citizens of Wicomico County desire regarding the proposed restrictions on consumption of medical cannabis within our county.
Letters, emails, and phone calls are wonderful ways to let county council members know the wishes of the community they serve.
Wicomico County Council
125 N. Division Street, Room 301
Salisbury MD 21801
Dear Mr. Cannon, Mr. McCain, Mr. Davis:
My name is Ben Rayne and I have lived in Wicomico County my entire life, save for a brief 6-month period during which I lived in Dorchester, after which I came bounding back to Wicomico.
I am writing the three of you today in protest of Sheriff Lewis and SA Dykes proposal to increase the severity of punishment with regards to public use of cannabis. I myself am a registered patient with the MMCC and I can’t begin to tell you the life changing benefits of legal cannabis use for the treatment of certain medical conditions from which I have suffered from most of my life. I am bipolar, I have ADHD, I suffer from PTSD, I have a panic/anxiety disorder, and I am on the autism spectrum. In case you were unaware, these are not curable conditions, only treatable with therapy and medication. Medical cannabis has helped me overcome much of the anxiety of daily life that had left me unable to work after a series of traumatic moments in my life.
But even if we forgo the usual anecdotes about how much good this plant is facilitating, we can find massive faults in the arguments put forth by Sheriff Lewis and SA Dykes. Their entire plan hinges upon something known as preemption. Preemption is a legal concept that sets forth the idea in strong State Government models, like The State of Maryland is set forth in its constitution, that when the State passes a law, that law is THE law of the land. No local laws may be made that supersede the State or Federal Government’s authority.
Now, I can explain this visually as well. Imagine you have a clear plastic tube and in the middle of it there is a disc with several holes in its surface that would allow sand to easily pass through. Now, the State laws are like marbles that perfectly stop up those holes. Local laws are like the sand and they have no way to pass through the disc without there being a clear hole, one representing a lack of a State law.
There has been much said about “open container” and the need to regulate public use of cannabis as harshly as we would alcohol, but there is another place where the tube metaphor is useful. The State regulates all alcohol sales in the State via a regulation that allows for each county to decide and legislate their own rules once they have an established and State approved liquor board. Now that board has a lot of leeway in deciding what the county’s rules on liquor would be and as you know, the Council works with the WCLB to regulate the sale of alcohol and distribution of licenses to do the same.
This is only possible because the State of Maryland passed laws allowing the county this authority. Had the State of Maryland voted to, they could have set up a system similar to liquor distribution and allowed the counties to regulate as they saw fit.
The difference is, they did not give local municipal and county governments the authority to do so, but not for any nefarious reasons. They kept the authority to themselves because Medical Cannabis is not a recreational drug, it is a very highly regulated medicine that the State created an entire commission to regulate.
As a TAXPAYER, I don’t want my tax money being used in a legal defense fund that WILL lose upon its first challenge and every subsequent appeal. There simply is no hole for Mr. Lewis to crawl through. If he wants to continue to move forward with society and the law, he will have to find a new reason to create probable cause. Otherwise he’s not only going to find himself in violation of the Constitution of the State of Maryland, but of the 4th amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.