Maryland: Baltimore Prosecutor To No Longer Target Marijuana Possession Offenses


MARYLAND: Officials will no longer prosecute marijuana possession offenses in Baltimore, according to a newly announced public policy by the office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.

Under the plan, which takes immediate effect, the office will also move to expunge the criminal records of an estimated 5,000 citizens previously convicted of cannabis-related offenses. The office’s decision to cease targeting minor marijuana violations is similar to actions recently taken by prosecutors in a number of other major cities, including St. Louis, MissouriWestchester, New YorkPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania; and Norfolk, Virginia.

State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said that the new policy will provide “a major step forward in making Baltimore city safer, fairer, and more equitable, and even more just.”

The Office will continue to take action against felony cases involving the possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, though prosecutors will refer all first-time offenders to diversion programs.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Study: Maternal Cannabis Use Not Associated With Adverse Neurodevelopment

MARYLAND: Cannabis exposure in utero is not associated with any significant, long-lasting adverse outcomes in offspring, according to a scientific review published online ahead of print in the journal Preventive Medicine.

A pair of researchers from the University of Maryland, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and the Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Psychiatry reviewed four prospective cohort studies evaluating the long-term health outcomes of in utero cannabis exposure.

They concluded, “The evidence base for maternal-infant health outcomes of cannabis use in pregnancy is more robust than for many other substances. … Although there is a theoretical potential for cannabis to interfere with neurodevelopment, human data drawn from four prospective cohorts have not identified any long-term or long lasting meaningful differences between children exposed in utero to cannabis and those not.”

A 2016 literature review published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology similarly reported that the moderate use of cannabis during pregnancy is not an independent risk factor for adverse neonatal outcomes such as low birth weight.

A 2017 study reported that maternal marijuana use was not independently associated with adverse effects on their children’s educational attainment. By contrast, maternal alcohol use was associated with detrimental educational outcomes in the cohort.

Entrepreneurs Push For Medical Marijuana Zoning In Baltimore County

MARYLAND:  Entrepreneurs eager to get a foothold in the nascent medical marijuana business in Maryland asked Baltimore County Council members Tuesday to pass zoning laws that would allow them to operate.

Travis Radebaugh, a member of the family that operates Towson-based Radebaugh Florist & Greenhouses, told council members his company is ready to start growing marijuana — if the council allows farming operations in rural zones.

Council members are wrestling with details of where they should allow medical marijuana growing operations, processing facilities and dispensaries once the state approves licenses for the businesses.

Medical cannabis was made legal by state lawmakers in 2013. But the initial restrictions attracted no businesses, so the law was tweaked and now allows the state to issue up to 15 licenses to grow and process medical cannabis and up to 94 licenses to operate dispensaries.

Gov. O’Malley To Sign Bill Decriminalizing Small Amounts Of Marijuana

MARYLAND:  A busy day in Annapolis Monday. Governor Martin O’Malley will sign off on big changes to the state’s marijuana law, even though there’s still heated opposition. Senate Bill 364 is one of more than 100 bills the governor will sign Monday.

Monday, Governor Martin O’Malley will sign a bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. He released a statement, saying in part:

“Such an acknowledgement in law might even lead to a greater focus on far more serious threats to public safety and the lives of our citizens.”

Baltimore Marijuana Diversion Program Nearly Triples In Size

MARYLAND:  City prosecutors have been offering more people charged with marijuana possession a chance to avoid conviction through community service, and recently released data shows that defendants are taking the deal at a rate that has tripled in the course of a year.

Close to 4,500 went into the program, known as “diversion,” in 2013 — up from about 1,400 the year before.

“This is something, frankly, we’re very proud about,” Baltimore State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein said.

The association that represents Maryland’s 24 state’s attorneys recently voted to oppose pushes in Annapolis to decriminalize or legalize marijuana, but the growing use of diversion programs show how city prosecutors are softening their approach.

Ayanbadejo Says Teammates On One Of His Super Bowl Teams Used Marijuana Week Of Game

MARYLAND:  Without offering specific details, former Ravens and Chicago Bears linebacker and special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo said teammates were smoking marijuana in the days leading up to one of the two Super Bowls he played in.

During a FOX Sports podcast with former NFL linebacker Scott Fujita, Ayanbadejo didn’t disclose which team it was, and he didn’t name names. [Read more…]