Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby released a statement on Tuesday saying that her office would stop prosecuting marijuana possession cases. Mosby framed the decision as a public safety and trust issue, explaining that prosecuting these cases served no public safety purpose. In fact, Mosby’s office explained, the prosecution of these kinds of cases “disproportionately impacts communities of color and erodes public trust.” Mosby also pointed out that, since they serve no real public safety purpose, these cases are a waste of resources and taxpayer dollars. The statement also reported that Mosby’s office was looking into vacating convictions for possession dating back eight years.
From Mosby’s release:
- Mosby will no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases, regardless of weight or a person’s prior criminal record.
- Mosby will prosecute distribution of marijuana as long as there is articulated evidence of intent to distribute beyond the mere fact of possession.
- Further, all people charged for the first time with felony possession with intent to distribute or with felony distribution will be referred to diversion.
- All Mosby is seeking to vacate nearly 5,000 prior marijuana convictions dating back to 2011.
- Mosby will also propose legislation that would give prosecutors the power to vacate convictions in the interest of justice.
The Washington Post has reported that Baltimore faces bigger public safety issues, such as guns and murder. Also, since the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police, more information has come to light concerning police corruption and hundreds of injustices visited upon communities of color.