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Baltimore's Top Prosecutor Will Stop Prosecuting Marijuana Possession Cases

Whether the police will stop arresting people is another question.

Marilyn MosbyKevin Richardson/TNS/NewscomBaltimore's top prosecutor has announced that she's not going to be taking on marijuana possession cases within the city and is going to attempt to vacate 5,000 convictions.

Marilyn Mosby, the state's attorney for Baltimore, is probably best known for trying to prosecute the Baltimore police officers who arrested Freddie Gray in 2015. Gray died in police custody of injuries sustained while being driven around in a police van. Her attempts failed miserably, leading to a hung jury and three acquittals.

Mosby is now focusing on apparently trying to get the notoriously corrupt police in Baltimore to deal with the city's actual serious crime problems. As she told The New York Times, "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."

Under Mosby's new rules, she will not charge anybody for possessing any amount of marijuana—even large amounts—without accompanying evidence of intent to deal, like baggies or scales. She says she's also going to direct first-time felony dealers to a diversion program that could result in the case being expunged if the program is successfully completed.

Attempting to vacate those old convictions may be much more of a challenge. Maryland does not have statutes that make it easy for prosecutors to overturn previous convictions unless they can show that an error was made. She has to seek changes in the state's laws.

It's also not terribly clear, unfortunately, if her decision will actually result in Baltimore police declining to arrest people for marijuana possession in the first place. She said in that Times interview that the current acting police commissioner would not tell his officers to stop arresting marijuana users, clinging to the belief that marijuana use drives violent crime. The Baltimore Sun reports that police representatives did not attend her press conference today and are planning their own response.

Photo Credit: Kevin Richardson/TNS/Newscom

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  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Under Mosby's new rules, she will not charge anybody for possessing any amount of marijuana—even large amounts—without accompanying evidence of intent to deal, like baggies or scales"'

    Sounds like the Baltimore PD is about to order a bunch of baggies and scales.

  • Uncle Jay||

    Ms. Mosby should be fired immediately.
    Maryland needs more people to be in prison to support their prison industry, and drugs is the best way to keep America the number one nation as far as incarceration goes.
    Besides, not arresting for selling and/or possessing MJ is sanity at its acme, and we don't need any sane people in government running our lives.
    We're happy with letting a bunch of clueless, totalitarian-minded thugs lord over all us little people.
    After all, our ruling elites are not only looking our for our best interests, but their best interests as well which is no mean feat.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Mosby is now focusing on apparently trying to get the notoriously corrupt police in Baltimore to deal with the city's actual serious crime problems.

    We call this a Mosbyus Strip, an twisting and unending circle of trying and failing to make points with constituents by jumping the gun on getting Charm City law enforcement to prioritize resources or even follow the law.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    That's quite a twisting and one-sided circle of trying to make a pun out of her name.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Thank you.

  • Rich||

    "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."

    Oh, FFS! How about asking that mom where she would rather the state legislature spend its time and attention--on changing the words to the state song or legalizing marijuana?

  • RickU77||

    They're pretty close to equal in my book. The MD state song is fucking terrible.

  • Rich||

    Oh, very well. [Insert RickU77's choice] instead of "changing the words to the state song".

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    I've lived in MD my entire life and can't recall what our state song is and I could care less what some politician says our state song is. For me it will always be Orioles Magic.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    You better not go shopping for ziplock bags if you have your stash on you.

  • Dillinger||

    should be a scale app by now wtf.

  • KiwiDude||

    There is a website that turns your phone into scales.

    Saw it used in Freetown Christiania.

  • Dillinger||

    if i can think of it, someone smarter invented and cashed in on it.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    What if I "possess" a warehouse full of it in 70lb bales?

  • Dillinger||

    party @your place.

  • Zeb||

    You probably have some crap weed that no one wants to buy?

  • awildseaking||

    Let's be real, it's not like cops are specifically targeting people for weed. It's just something they find during traffic stops and routine searches that they use to stack charges.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Police officers generally aren't targeting certain people in this context . . . but are targeting certain other people.

    Whether one cares about this depends upon when one is a decent person. And perhaps whether one is a libertarian.

  • Eddy||

    Imbeciles like you pass laws and are shocked when the police use these laws to mess with people.

    Imbeciles like you "support unions" and are shocked when police unions protect their worst members from accountability.

    The important thing is you feel good about yourself, and all these bad things happening as a result of your policies, including harm to racial minorities, is purely an accident and the fault of Biola-graduates who voted for Trump.

  • DenverJ||

    ...leading to a hung jury...

    "hanged"

  • spork||

    "What'd you get, kid?"
    "I didn't get nuthin', they took my weed and locked me in a van and drove really fast through town."
    "No kid, what were you arrested for?"
    "Oh. Possessing marijuana."
    ...and they all moved away from me on the bench there, until I said,
    "And resisting arrest!"
    ...and they all moved back and we was havin' a wonderful time, talkin' about mother stabbin' and father rapin' and all kinds of ga-roovy things sittin' on the bench there.


    /group W

  • Ben of Houston||

    While I can understand the policy of prioritizing away from possession charges, by creating a blanket lack of enforcement, she has effectively overruled all the elected officials of the City, State, and Federal government.

    Especially going for vacating convictions. This isn't prioritizing police action. This is changing the law by decree of one, single (albeit, elected) official. That's simply unacceptable.

  • Jerryskids||

    If the cops know the prosecutor isn't going to prosecute for nickel bag possession, they're just going to have to do the job themselves. Get Freddie Gray to explain to you what "You might beat the rap, but you wont beat the ride" means, because this is how you get more Freddie Grays.

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