Media Contact

Meredith Curtis Goode,

June 17, 2024

BALTIMORE, MD – The following statement can be attributed to Yanet Amanuel, public policy director with the ACLU of Maryland:
“We applaud Governor Wes Moore for taking a public step to move further away from criminal penalties and for pardoning 175,000 low-level marijuana convictions in Maryland. Our state and country need sweeping actions to remedy racial injustices and build a more fair future for all.

“More than 50 years of intentional smear framing and propaganda spewed by the media and politicians have allowed law enforcement to unfairly target and criminalize Black people. The next step is for Maryland to restore people from the harm that’s been done from felony marijuana convictions.

“If we want our state to truly legalize marijuana and stop racist enforcement by police, we need to prioritize expunging possession with intent to distribute convictions and eliminate criminal penalties for these offenses. This change matters so that people do not lose access to employment, education, and housing. In addition, Maryland leaders also need to enact vacatur of past marijuana convictions for immigrants in Maryland, because pardons do not expunge records, and expungement for marijuana convictions is not recognized at the federal level.”