Baltimore to stop prosecuting marijuana possession cases

BALTIMORE (WSVN) — Convictions relating to marijuana possession are coming to an end in the City of Baltimore.

State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that her office will no longer prosecute any marijuana possession cases, regardless of weight or prior criminal history, because the prosecutions have no public safety value.

Mosby also said the prosecutions disproportionally affect communities and they erode public trust. She also said it’s a costly and counterproductive use of limited resources.

“We need to get serious about prioritizing what actually makes us safe,” Mosby said. “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.”

The office will still prosecute distribution of marijuana as long as there is “articulated evidence of intent to distribute beyond the mere fact of possession.” However, people charged for the first time with felony possession with intent to distribute will be referred to diversion.

Mosby is also looking to vacate almost 5,000 previous marijuana convictions dating back to 2011.

“Jailing people for marijuana possession is a vast and ongoing moral failure,” Mosby said. “Communities are still sentenced under these unjust policies, still paying a price for behavior that is already legal for millions of Americans. That’s why I’m moving to vacate these cases.”

Mosby will also propose legislation that will give prosecutors the power to vacate convictions in the interest of justice.

Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.