Mosby Will No Longer Prosecute Marijuana Cases

State Attorney Marilyn Mosby poses in front of a mural of Freddie Gray who was killed in the custody of Baltimore police.

Marilyn Mosby poses in front of a mural of Freddie Gray who was killed in the custody of Baltimore police.

By Malcolm Speaks

Baltimore’s State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Tuesday that marijuana possession will no longer be prosecuted in the city.

“For far too long, we have sat back and watched idly as communities and families are literally destroyed by the failed policies of the war on drugs,“ Mosby told NBC News.

“There is absolutely no link between marijuana and violent crime and we’ve seen that all across the country,” Mosby said.

Therefore, “There is no public safety value” to prosecuting marijuana possession, she added.

The State Attorney stated that marijuana convictions disproportionately affect the city’s Black community and that her office will not process any cases of possession, regardless of a person’s prior criminal record.

“In Baltimore, the majority of citations, even after decriminalization, are issued to Black people,” she told NBC News.

Dana Vickers Shelley, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, agreed with this course of action.

“Even though studies show that black and white people use marijuana at similar rates, black Marylanders are consistently arrested at higher rates for marijuana in every county,” Shelley said at a press conference Tuesday.

However, the Baltimore State Attorney’s Office will continue to prosecute the distribution of marijuana, but only if there is “articulated evidence of intent to distribute beyond the mere fact of possession.”

State Attorney Mosby said that prosecuting marijuana possession is “costly and counterproductive to the limited resources we have in the city of Baltimore.”

“If you ask a mother who lost her son where she would like you to use those resources, she will tell you, ‘l want you to use those resources to find my son’s killer,’ as opposed to jailing and incarcerating people for possession of marijuana.”

State Attorney Mosby also announced that her office plans to vacate almost 5,000 marijuana convictions dating back to 2011.

“Jailing people for marijuana possession is a vast and ongoing moral failure,” Mosby said during her announcement of the new policy. She explained her decision by saying that the communities affected by “unjust” marijuana policies are “still paying a price for behavior that is already legal for millions of Americans.”

The State Attorney told NBC News that even if Baltimore police continue to arrest people for possession of marijuana, she will “release those individuals without charges.”

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