Maryland State Rep. Robert Ehrlich, who announced last month he was seeking to be the Republican Party candidate for governor in this fall's election, hewed to a traditional GOP tough-on-crime position as he laid out a series of criminal justices proposals -- except on the drug war. In a June 1 speech in at the Republican Party's spring convention in Ocean City, Ehrlich laid into Democratic Gov. Parris Glendening and Lt. Gov Kathleen Kennedy Townsend over Glendening's announcement on a one-year moratorium on the death penalty in the state and Townsend's support of that move. Townsend is seeking the Democratic Party nomination.

Ehrlich called for an end to the moratorium, the creation of a new police academy to provide training for expanded DNA testing and crime scene technicians statewide, and a program to aggressively target violent offenders. Ehrlich touted Virginia's Project Exile as a model for Maryland. Under Exile, state prosecutors feed gun cases to federal prosecutors, who seek long mandatory sentences for such crimes.

But on drug policy, Erhlich sang a slightly different tune. On drug treatment in the prisons, Ehrlich promised a "significant increase," but more notably, he also called for less emphasis on imprisoning nonviolent drug offenders. "You can't warehouse nonviolent addicts forever," he said. Enticing his fellow Republicans with visions of inner city black votes from Baltimore, Ehrlich said such a policy could help the party regain credibility. "That builds credibility in some areas where we have very little credibility," he told the party faithful.

Ehrlich could have been thinking about a poll his staffers ran among Baltimore voters in February. Facing off against Townsend, the probable Democratic nominee, he won among white voters by 58% to 40%, but lost by an eight-to-one margin with black voters. No Republican has won the Maryland governorship since Spiro Agnew in 1968.

-- END --
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Issue #241, 6/14/02 Federal Judge Issues Injunction Against California Cannabis Clubs | The June 6th Medical Marijuana Actions: One Week Later | With Competing Drug Reform Bills Passed, NY Governor and Assembly Have One Week to Reach Compromise | Border Governors to Discuss Chihuahua Marijuana Legalization | Dan Forbes Goes After Ad Age for McCarthyite Smear | London Borough Proposes De Facto Hard Drug Decrim | Philippines Enacts Death Penalty for Drug Dealing, Possession of a Pound of Marijuana or Tens Grams of Ecstasy | Colombian Paramilitary Leader Again Admits Links with Cocaine Traffic, Calls for Tactical Retreat from the Trade | Newsbrief: Mexico Drug Trade Helps Prevent Social Explosion, Says Researcher | Newsbrief: DARE Dropped in Toledo | Newsbrief: Maryland GOP Governor Candidate Talks Treatment Not Jail | Newsbrief: Supreme Court Ruling Leads to Public Housing Eviction for Son's Marijuana Pipe | Newsbrief: Addicts Vote with Their Feet on Vietnam's New, Lengthy Mandatory Drug Rehab | Newsbrief: Louisiana Judge Busted in Dope-Planting Scheme | Newsbrief: Life for Brownies? California Man Faces Three-Strikes Penalty | Grant Program: Tides Foundation RFPs for Latin America, Prop. 36 Implementation and Overdose Prevention | New DRCNet/ Merchandise Out -- Discounted Purchase Available | The Reformer's Calendar
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