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Baltimore City State's Attorney Pushes For Marijuana Decriminalization Before House Subcommittee

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.


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.

Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform by House Committee on the Judiciary on YouTube

"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.

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