April 29, 2010

Vovak campaigns for Montgomery County to legalize marijuana

According to The Daily Caller, Montgomery County, Maryland is ranked as the second most liberal county in America; however, if a 38-year-old Republican is elected as County Executive, it will probably surpass San Francisco for the top notch. Daniel "The Whig Man" Vovak, of Bethesda, will run for Montgomery County Executive against Isaiah Leggett, 66, a Democrat in his first controversial term. Vovak, a ghostwriter and screenplay writer, says he wants to legalize marijuana and grow it on county farms and gardens. It's the latest idea proposed to help the county close a $1 billion budget gap in one of America's richest counties, where not a single elected Republican lives.

Public officials are promoting many options to raise revenue, most which involve tax increases and worker furloughs. Leggett (D) has proposed an alcohol tax, more than doubling the energy tax, raising cell phone rates by another dollar a month, an EMS fee, and increasing the gas tax. Confronting that logic, MCGEO President Gino Renne has said Leggett has an "obvious lack of vision." Meanwhile, Montgomery County Planning Chairman Royce Hanson believes Leggett is proposing "bad public policy and management" when trying to consolidate the county's police department with park police, under the bogus claim of saving $2 million a year. Additionally, Councilman Roger Berliner has proposed a carbon tax that will raise millions from only one factory: Mirant. Ironically, Council President Nancy Floreen has not recommended any major tax increases or cuts.

Vovak says, "If Councilman Knapp (D-Germantown) believes Montgomery County will make $2 million a year by opening liquor stores on Sundays, imagine what can be charged for user fees for growing marijuana and reselling it. I am approaching this idea purely because it is a county money-maker, though, as I have no intention of using marijuana after it becomes legal. For the record, I've never used marijuana or any illegal drug and only have used prescription drugs for brief illnesses. In fact, I've never even smoked a cigarette, though I do smoke an occasional cigar or tobacco pipe."

The marijuana topic is currently on the minds of elected officials throughout the country. In April, Maryland Senate Bill 627 to legalize medical marijuana passed in committee, making it the fifteenth State to do so. In Washington, D.C., medical marijuana use was supported with a unanimous vote by the city council just a week ago. In Philadelphia this month, officials made major steps to decriminalize marijuana, believing prosecuting it is a waste of time for policemen and courts. In November, California state-wide voters will decide if recreational marijuana should be legal. Moreover, on April 20, tens of thousands of Americans openly smoked marijuana in public parks.

Vovak says, "It is inevitable that many jurisdictions within the United States will legalize marijuana. If our county is ahead of the curve on legalization, then we will also be ahead of the financial curve on making a profit for our county government. I want the headquarters of America's largest marijuana businesses to be in Montgomery County, Maryland, like the equivalent of Phillip Morris and R. J. Reynolds. New county funding sources will come from selling permits to marijuana farmers then taxing county-authorized resellers and establishing a national distribution chain."

Vovak added, "In 1992, when then-Governor Bill Clinton declared he experimented with marijuana, it ended a taboo for candidates. Nearly two decades later, I'm proposing this idea because Montgomery County's Republicans and Democrats are educated enough to know legalizing marijuana is smart fiscal politics, especially when our county is a billion in debt and furloughing 6,000 county workers for two-week intervals."

Vovak is open to voter commentary, believing marijuana should be regulated under the Department of Liquor Control and parents should self-impose marijuana rules for their children. An avid gardener, Vovak says he will require a permit for growing marijuana for household use and an expensive permit for resale use. To build state-wide agricultural support, Vovak says he will contact the highest ranking elected official in each county and begin a task force to grow marijuana as a legal herb in Maryland.

Maryland's nickname, the "Free State," was created by Hamilton Owens, editor of the Baltimore Sun. In 1923, Congressman William Upshaw, a Prohibition supporter, denounced Maryland as a traitor to the Union for its defiant -- and continued -- support of alcohol. Owens wrote an editorial entitled "The Maryland Free State," arguing it was worthy of Maryland to secede from the Union rather than prohibit the sale of liquor. Vovak believes Maryland's historic national leadership for encouraging alcohol sales proves the State's population is full of national leaders -- rather than followers -- on new ideas.

"What are Leggett and Council's stances on marijuana?" asks Vovak.

Contact Vovak at 202-367-4835, DanielVovak@gmail.com or campaign website: BuildMontgomery.com.

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