Marijuana possession will no longer be prosecuted in the city, Baltimore’s State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Tuesday.
“For far too long, we have sat back and watched idly as communities and families are literally destroyed by the failed policies of the war on drugs,“ Mosby told NBC News.
She added that “there is no public safety value” to prosecuting marijuana possession.
Saying that marijuana convictions disproportionately affect the city’s black community, Mosby said that her office will not process any cases of possession, regardless of a person’s prior criminal record.
“In Baltimore, the majority of citations, even after decriminalization, are issued to black people,” she told NBC News.
Dana Vickers Shelley, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, agreed.
“Even though studies show that black and white people use marijuana at similar rates, black Marylanders are consistently arrested at higher rates for marijuana in every county,” Shelley said at a press conference Tuesday.
The Baltimore State Attorney’s Office will continue to prosecute distribution of marijuana, but only if there is “articulated evidence of intent to distribute beyond the mere fact of possession.”
Mosby said prosecuting marijuana possession is “costly and counterproductive to the limited resources we have in the city of Baltimore.”
“If you ask a mother who lost her son where she would like you to use those resources, she will tell you, ‘l want you to use those resources to find my son’s killer,’ as opposed to jailing and incarcerating people for possession of marijuana.”