State Watch

Baltimore to no longer prosecute marijuana possession


Baltimore’s top prosecutor announced Tuesday that the city will no longer prosecute any cases related to marijuana possession, regardless of quantity or a person’s criminal record.

Marilyn Mosby, the state’s attorney in Baltimore, is also seeking to have the courts vacate roughly 5,000 prior marijuana convictions going back to 2011, The Associated Press reported.

{mosads}“No one who is serious about public safety can honestly say that spending resources to jail people for marijuana use is a smart way to use our limited time and money,” Mosby said Tuesday in announcing the move.

She called sending people to jail for marijuana possession an “ongoing moral failure.”

“Communities are still sentenced under these unjust policies, still paying a price for behavior that is already legal for millions of Americans,” she said. “That’s why I’m moving to vacate these cases.”

Mosby said her office will instead focus on prosecuting dealers and traffickers in marijuana distribution cases.

Maryland decriminalized possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana in 2014, instead handing out fines. Two years later, the state also decriminalized the smoking of marijuana in public and the possession of paraphernalia.

Convictions for marijuana possession disproportionately impact people of color, according to the American Civil Liberties Union and an analysis by The Washington Post.

Major cities such as Seattle, Manhattan and San Francisco are reconsidering how they prosecute marijuana possession.

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