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Baltimore’s top prosecutor files petition to eliminate almost 4,000 cannabis convictions

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Baltimore’s top prosecutor files petition to eliminate almost 4,000 cannabis convictions

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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In a bid to “right an extraordinary wrong,” Baltimore’s top prosecutor has submitted a legal petition and a rather rare one at that.

The State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, plans to clear 3,778 convictions for cannabis possession by initiating a legal “Maryland v Maryland” strategy filing in a Baltimore court.

Titled “writ of error coram nobis,” the petition filed by Mosby will enable the court to relaunch cases whereby substantial errors have been discovered that were not regarded during the preliminary judgments.

In the event that Mosby’s petition to clear cannabis convictions in Baltimore is granted, thousands of people’s lives could be changed in Baltimore.

History of cannabis convictions in Baltimore related to ‘ethnic and racial bigotry’

During her plea to clear cannabis convictions in Baltimore, Mosby drew attention to the fact that racial disparities must be acknowledged in order to accomplish retroactive justice in pot possession cases that have occurred on a year-by-year basis. Currently, as a result of discriminatory policing, the city is being operated by means of a federal oversight program.

“The sordid history of marijuana prohibition lies in ethnic and racial bigotry,” wrote Mosby in her filing to wipe clean 3,778 cannabis convictions in Baltimore.

She went on to say that, in spite of cannabis decriminalization being enacted in Maryland back in 2014 for possession of 10 grams or less, racial disparities in cannabis possession arrests remain to be a problem in Baltimore.

According to Wikipedia, Baltimore is ranked number five on a list of the top 10 cities in the U.S. with the highest percentage of Black or African-American residents. Based on details released by the U.S. Census for 2013, 63.3 percent of Baltimore’s population was black and 31.6 percent white.

Mosby’s court petition to clear cannabis convictions in Baltimore comes during the same week in which she declared that her office won’t prosecute for any pot possession cases. The rule, she said, applies regardless of a person’s criminal record or how much cannabis they were caught in possession of. Her argument was that more serious crimes need to be dealt with by police departments in U.S. cities who lack resources to do so.

Catherine Pugh is the city’s mayor and she has given Mosby’s petition the nod, declaring her support for the filing to clear cannabis convictions in Baltimore. Baltimore State lawmakers must “look carefully at these issues” to determine a joint and rational decision, says Pugh.

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Baltimore’s top prosecutor files petition to eliminate almost 4,000 cannabis convictions