Weed for classrooms? Md. lawmakers to debate issue in General Assembly

A general view of the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Md., Friday, Oct. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — On the first day of the Maryland General Assembly, lawmakers got busy pitching ideas, including how to tackle big-ticket items such as education.

State Sen. Craig Zucker said one of his goals is “to make Maryland schools No. 1 again.”

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich wanted to see more money for pre-K, and said the county also needed millions of dollars in capital investment.

“We have really large capital needs — almost $800 million in a backlog in construction — and we need support to deal with that,” Elrich said.

State Del. Julian Ivey said schools in his district, Prince George’s County, can’t cover the cost called for in the Kirwan Commission’s report on education policy.

“We’re going to have to have some very tough conversations,” he said, citing that the report called for an infusion of as much as $4 billion in state money.

One way to get there, Ivey said, is to legalize marijuana. “It’s something that we should be strongly considering. Of course, sports gambling is another way that we can bring some revenue toward that. It has to be something that we talk about.”

Ivey said he understands that for some lawmakers, legalization is a tough sell and expects a lively debate in the 90-day session.

Maryland has already moved to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Medical marijuana is also legal in the state, and Maryland set up a commission to register providers under the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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