From skyrocketing violence to rampant police misconduct, the powers-that-be in the city of Baltimore have been tasked with making the city a better place to live for its residents. One figure in B-More that has had an extreme burden on her is Maryland State Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, who has had to deal with the fallout after the death of Freddie Gray, corrupt police officers planting evidence on innocent people and more. However, Mosby is keeping it moving to improve the quality of life for Baltimoreans. Today (January 29), she announced that cannabis possession within city limits will no longer be prosecuted. “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,” she said during her announcement.
Though cannabis is still illegal in the state of Maryland, Mosby’s move to not prosecute weed possession is the next in a succession of legal maneuvers to spare indulgers of penalties for using their vice of choice. According to The Hill, in 2014, Maryland decriminalized possession of up to ten grams of bud. In 2016, the state decriminalized the smoking of cannabis in public as well as possession of paraphernalia. Now, people living in Baltimore will avoid prosecution for possession of any amount of weed regardless of the person’s criminal past. Mosby also aims to vacate as many as 5,000 cannabis convictions dating back to 2011, referring to the jailing of people for weed possession as an “ongoing moral failure.”
This move to not prosecute cannabis possession is certainly good news for Baltimore’s Black residents. The New York Times reports that between 2015 and 2017, 90% of the city’s citations for low-level possession were issued to Blacks.
Mosby also sees the move as a way to improve relations between residents and law enforcement. She posed the question, “How are we going to expect folks to want to cooperate with us when you’re stopping, you’re frisking, you’re arresting folks for marijuana possession?”
However, the situation will not be sweet for those who choose to sell weed. Mosby’s office still vows to lock up dealers and traffickers in distribution cases.