Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced at a news conference on Tuesday that the state will no longer prosecute marijuana possession—regardless of how much one may have on hand or any prior criminal records that exist. Mosby will also be working toward vacating close to 5,000 convictions, a decision that’s sure to rouse those in opposition to the gradual loosening of cannabis laws.
“If you ask that mom whose son was killed where she would rather us spend our time and our attention — on solving that murder, or prosecuting marijuana laws — it’s a no-brainer,” she said. She went on to explain that her decision was based on the desire to make more time for police to address more serious, violent crimes.
“We need to get serious about prioritizing what actually makes us safe, and 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 added in a press release.
Important to note: the State’s Attorney’s office will still prosecute distributors. But rather than serve time behind bars, first-time offenders will be referred to a diversion program.
“Communities are still sentenced under these unjust policies, still paying a price for behavior that is already legal for millions of Americans,” Mosby continued in the release.
The decision comes after district attorneys in Manhattan and Philadelphia also “scaled back or outright ended marijuana prosecutions,” writes the Baltimore Sun. Marijuana possession (up to 10 grams) was also decriminalized in 2014.
The policy reportedly takes immediate effect. Read more here.