Downside to legalized marijuana

States that have enacted or considered enacting laws decriminalizing marijuana use should also consider the impact that will come from more people using the drug, and the problems that may come with that. Maryland has essentially decriminalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, but usually there are efforts each year to totally decriminalize it, such as was done in Colorado or Washington state. (Carroll Co. Times)

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Daniel Webster: To reduce Baltimore's gun violence, invest in strategies that work

The recent spike in shootings in Baltimore and the city's endemically high rate of violent crime underscore why reducing gun violence must be the top priority for city officials. Violence exacts an enormous toll on Baltimore beyond the direct costs from the deaths, disability, medical care, law enforcement and prisons. (Balt. Sun)

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Ehrlich: What it will take to get the GOP on board with immigration reform

Attempting to narrow America's immigration debate down to an easily understood set of issues is no easy task. But that's why The Sun pays me the big bucks. So, with no further caveats, I offer comprehensive immigration reform in 800 words, more or less. (Balt. Sun)

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U.S. should lead war on pollution

As some developing nations continue to accelerate industrialization and world pollution levels rise, it is more important than ever for our country to be a world leader in clean energy. As part of a plan to fight global warming, President Barack Obama recently proposed strict new Environmental Protection Agency regulations that opponents say would make it impossible to open a new coal plant in the U.S. (Carroll Co. Times)

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Collaboration key to saving bay

If you’ve read much Dr. Seuss to your children, you’ve probably noticed there’s a good deal of insight about human behavior. Take his story of the “The Zax,” in which a creature headed north comes face-to-face with a creature headed south. Neither one will budge. If only one would move to the side, or both move, then each could go on his way. Instead, stubbornness wins out, and there they stand. What should have been a simple win-win proposition instead becomes a lose-lose situation.The debate over humans’ impact on Chesapeake Bay smacks of Zax-like thinking at times. (Daily Times)

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Changes to downtown hardly a new idea

Downtown Annapolis has been studied more than any other part of the county. A gem like this fires the imaginations of consultants and preservationists who unfortunately leave us with more dreams than usable ideas. Annapolis is not a showcase for dreams; it is a living city. Most recently, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a cadre of well-intentioned volunteers have offered yet another design for the city’s future. (Capital)

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Jean Marbella: For City Councilman, crime is not a distant issue

Growing up in Park Heights during the crack-ridden 1990s, Brandon Scott used to wash cars at his uncle's shop, where some of the customers were drug dealers — and unlikely sources of advice for the high school track star who would grow up to become a city councilman. "I had one guy tell me as I was going off to St. Mary's [College], 'If I had a chance to do it again, I would have taken that football scholarship,'" he remembers. "'Forget about this money.'" The following year, the man was shot dead. (Balt. Sun)

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Dan Rodricks: More shootings, but hope in Johnston Square

So many of the old rowhouse neighborhoods of Baltimore have the following characteristics — one block good, next block bad; safe by day, violent by night; earnest homeowners here; apathetic renters there. Walk along enough of the side streets, especially on the east and west sides of town, and those contradictions are obvious. Just look at the two blocks of Preston Street east of Greenmount Avenue, in Johnston Square. (Balt. Sun)

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