Policy: Law

O'Malley signs pot decriminalization bill

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Local,Maryland,Marijuana,Law

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Martin O'Malley has signed a bill that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana, starting Oct. 1.

He says the bill could improve public safety by freeing police officers to focus on more serious threats.

The Maryland State's Attorneys Association sent O'Malley a letter Friday, urging him to veto the measure. The group's president says the bill was passed too hastily. He wanted bill amendments that would keep it a crime to smoke pot in public or to carry it onto school property.

Nevertheless, O'Malley signed the bill Monday morning. He also approved measures to improve the distribution of medical marijuana, lower the burden of proof to obtain domestic violence protective orders and raise penalties for distracted driving when it leads to serious wrecks.

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