US

Md. governor signs pot decriminalization bill

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

Maryland is now the 17th state in the U.S. to decriminalize marijuana. The Democratic governor says the law should 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. Charles Smith wanted amendments that would keep it a crime to smoke pot in public or carry it onto school property.

O'Malley also approved a measure to improve the distribution of medical marijuana.

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