Baltimore: Judges Reject Effort To Expunge Thousands Of Cannabis Convictions

Baltimore, MD: A pair of judges have struck down an attempt by Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby to expunge the records of 4,800 citizens previously convicted of minor marijuana-related crimes.

In January, Ms. Mosby publically announced that her office would no longer prosecute low-level marijuana possession violations, and that she would seek to vacate the records of those with past criminal convictions. The proposed expungement plan was similar to efforts recently taken by prosecutors in several other cities, including Brooklyn, Chicago, and Seattle.

But last week a pair of judges rejected Ms. Mosby’s request, opining that the State’s Attorney was bound by oath to defend state law. The possession of marijuana in quantities over ten grams is classified in Maryland as a criminal offense.

"I am deeply disappointed that this ruling did not afford us any opportunity to present legal arguments and essentially eliminated the court from being a safe harbor for those that were harmed by the discriminatory enforcement of marijuana laws," Mosby’s said.

For more information, contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500.