WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby testified before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee Wednesday, urging lawmakers to legalize marijuana and allow states to regulate it as they see fit.

It was the first meeting in recent history where members of Congress took an in-depth look at the injustices of punishments for marijuana use and distribution.

During her remarks before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, Mosby spoke about the disparate impact that enforcement of laws criminalizing marijuana has had on poor communities and communities of color in Baltimore.

“There is no better illumination of this country’s failed War on Drugs than the city of Baltimore, Maryland,” Mosby said during her opening remarks.

Mosby argued that the priority for substance abuse should be treatment rather than punishment.

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Earlier this year, Mosby’s office announced it would no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases.

She also sought to have nearly 5,000 marijuana-related convictions dating back to 2011 vacated; that request was later denied.

During her remarks, Mosby highlighted that policy change, saying before it was enacted, black people in Baltimore were six times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession that white people despite it being approximately even between the two groups.

“I refuse to be complicit in the continued decimation of poor black and brown communities where we as a community irresponsibly continue to maintain and unfathomably seek to justify and defend a set of policies that without question are racist and discriminatory in implementation,” she said.

Mosby said she wants to see marijuana decriminalized and removed as a controlled substance — essentially making it legal — and then leave it up to states to decide how to regulate it.

She also asked lawmakers to create economic incentives for reinvesting in the communities most impacted by marijuana possession convictions.

“Whole communities are being ravished and have lost generations of mothers, fathers, brothers, sons and daughters to incarceration in a cyclical poverty due to these convictions,” she said.

Rachel Menitoff

Comments (8)
  1. Brian Kelly says:

    Don’t be fooled by marijuana “decriminalization” because citizens are still going to be treated like common criminals for marijuana under it. This is what desperate anti-marijuana prohibitionist types will now settle for.

    They also fail to mention the additional huge cost of court costs which can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars on top of the relatively small ticket/fine.

    If you fail to pay these very expensive and often unaffordable court costs you will be in “the system” as a criminal. With a warrant out for your arrest and incarceration.

    This policy still allows marijuana to be used as a tool and probable cause by law enforcement to investigate marijuana consumers for no other reason other than even the detection of the scent of marijuana by law enforcement.

    Overall, decriminalization through it’s hidden, super expensive court costs and mandatory summons to appear in court, combined with the allowance of marijuana to still be used by law enforcement as a tool and probable cause still allows marijuana to be an ordinary. otherwise law abiding citizen’s introduction into the criminal justice system.

    No thanks! If this so called policy of marijuana “decriminalization” truly means marijuana is no longer supposed to be a “crime”, then why are marijuana consumers still going to be treated like criminals under it?

    Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws as the drinkers of alcohol. Plain and simple!

    Citizens will STILL be forced to the dangerous black market and a shady illegal street drug dealer to purchase their marijuana. Getting caught buying it is STILL a crime they will arrest and jail you for. Then, they will also most likely try to FORCE you to either mandatory community service and/or rehab, and if you don’t comply, guess what? JAILTIME!

    Also, we will still be wasting our tax dollars sending police around to write summons to marijuana users and wasting police manpower and resources.

    Instead of allowing our police the time, manpower and resources to protect us all from real, dangerous criminals who actually commit crimes with victims and pose a real threat to society.

    Why else do you think some politicians are so EAGER to “decriminalize”, instead of LEGALIZE?

    Don’t Let’em Fool Us!!!

    If you can’t purchase it legally, then it isn’t legal.

    If you have to fear a monetary fine/ticket which if you don’t pay and/or show up in court to handle, you then become a criminal with a warrant out for your arrest, and when convicted (yes convicted, as in crime.) you will then be forced into free manual labor and/or forced drug rehabilitation to be used as another statistic prohibitionists love to flaunt about supposed “marijuana addicts”, then….No, it’s not legal!

    This will not suffice! Getting caught purchasing marijuana is still considered a serious “drug deal” and you will be prosecuted for it!

    DEMAND FULL MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION NATIONWIDE!

  2. She is a NUTJOB!! ANY drugs legalized in a city already overrun and with a out of control drug problem along with the hoodrat gangs fueling an already deadly drug war! She is useless as our states attorney!! She is part of the problem NOT the solution!!!

  3. No surprise she is playing the RACE CARD!! How typical of her!!