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MOMS rolling out billboard to stop marijuana arrests

Group wants more focus on homicide investigations
Pugh billboard
Posted at 11:21 PM, Feb 20, 2019

BALTIMORE, Md. (WMAR) — A new mobile billboard will be turning heads in downtown Baltimore Thursday afternoon.

The group Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters United will be standing at the War Memorial building next to a mobile billboard with a picture of Mayor Catherine Pugh that reads “Stop pot arrests. Solve murders instead.”

MOMS Co-Founder Daphne Alston’s son was murdered 11-year-ago.

“We need to address the issue ya know of what’s going on out here and how can we fix it so this can stop happening, so that’s how we got started,” said Alston.

MOMS focuses on helping parents who have lost their children, particularly in Baltimore City. Their voices have been loud over the years, but they are trying a different approach with a new message.

“Desperate times take desperate measures and we’ve tried all that stuff and it doesn’t work,“ said Alston.

The group is supporting Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s decision to prosecute people for selling marijuana—but not for having it for personal use.

“We want them to spend their time wisely on some of the violent offenders, violent crimes,” said Alston. “Mostly the homicides because a lot of our moms don’t have any justice for our children.”

In a statement, Mayor Catherine Pugh said she understand what Mosby is trying to address, but at the same time people who deal illegal drugs fuel criminality that leads to violence.

The Baltimore Police Department has continued to arrest for marijuana possession.

“Getting a charge like that on your record has an everlasting effect for these young men and women because they can’t get good jobs,” said Alston. “They are held back from a lot of things. The prisons are full of smart young men who are in there for small charges like marijuana and small drugs offenses and that sticks with them the rest of their life.”’

MOMS is hoping that the Mayor and new Acting Police Commissioner Michael Harrison have a reaction to seeing the billboard that will right next to City Hall.

The press conference to unveil the billboard is at 11 a.m. Thursday.