The Washington Times - June 14, 2011, 01:30PM

A recent study ranked Maryland among the nation’s least free states.

Maryland ranked 43rd of 50 states in the study by the Mercatus Center — a libertarian think tank based at George Mason University — which ranked personal, economic and overall freedom of residents.


New York ranked as the nation’s least-free state, while New Hampshire ranked as the most. Virginia, buoyed by low tax rates and limited government spending, ranked ninth.

While Maryland ranked 43rd in overall freedom, the study ranked the state dead last in personal freedom, due in part to tight regulations on vehicles, gambling and homeschooling, a law allowing police to take DNA from some felony suspects, a lack of legally-recognized same-sex partnerships and what the study described as the nation’s second-strictest gun laws.

Maryland was ranked 28th in economic freedom, due partly to severe labor regulation and costly health insurance mandates.

The study suggested Maryland could become more free by legalizing same-sex unions, decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession and easing licensing requirements on many professions.