WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday in favor of a bill that would decriminalize marijuana nationwide, a move Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby called in an op-ed a “critical step toward a more fair, just and trustworthy legal system.”

The bill, known as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019, passed by a vote of 228-164. All seven of Maryland’s Democratic congressmen voted in favor, while the state’s lone Republican congressman, Andy Harris, voted in opposition.

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The legislation removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances and also removes criminal penalties for anyone who possesses, manufactures or distributes it. A 5% tax on cannabis products would be established, with the money going into a trust fund.

In an op-ed published Friday in the New York Daily News, Mosby and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said the country “must start by addressing one of the most egregious drivers of inequality: mass criminalization in part fueled by marijuana prohibition.”

“Given the Republican Senate and president, it’s not on the cusp of becoming law yet, but it’s nevertheless a huge step forward,” they added.

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In January 2019, Mosby said her office would no longer prosecute cases of marijuana possession, arguing “there is no public safety value” in doing so. The change met pushback from some state officials.

In April of that year, judges denied Mosby’s request to dismiss convictions in nearly 5,000 marijuana possession cases.

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CBS Baltimore Staff