Wash. counties drop marijuana misdemeanor possession cases in light of vote
November 9th, 2012
08:19 PM ET

Wash. counties drop marijuana misdemeanor possession cases in light of vote

The prosecutor's offices for two Washington counties - including the one that contains Seattle - announced today they will dismiss 175 misdemeanor marijuana possession charges, days after the state's voters legalized the drug.

The dropped cases all involve arrests of individuals age 21 and older for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana.

Washington state voters passed Initiative 502 on Tuesday, thus legalizing and regulating the production, possession, and distribution of cannabis for people ages 21 and older.

The initiative is set to take effect December 6, though King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg decided to act before then.

"There is no point in continuing to seek criminal penalties for conduct that will be legal next month," Satterberg said in a news release.

The King County Sheriff's Office subsequently announced that, in light of the county prosecutor's decision, its deputies "will not be directed to arrest or charge individuals caught with one ounce or less of marijuana."

This decision affects efforts only in the unincorporated part of the county, with the sheriff's office noting that leaders in 12 municipalities in the county will decide how deputies act between now and December 6 in their locales.

Mark Lindquist, the prosecutor for Pierce County in Washington state, said his office will dismiss simple marijuana possession cases as well. But cases in which a person is charged with other crimes, in addition to marijuana possession, will still stand, Lindquist said.

The Washington referendum called for a 25% tax rate imposed on the product three times - when the grower sells it to the processor, when the processor sells it to the retailer, and when the retailer sells it to the customer.

It is one of two marijuana-related ballot initiatives that passed this week. Amendment 64 in Colorado will amend the state constitution to legalize and regulate the production, possession, and distribution of marijuana for persons ages 21 and older.

But Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper warned after his state's vote that it's too soon to "break out the Cheetos," because his state and presumably Washington state must still navigate federal laws before citizens can legally buy and sell cannabis.

And germane to the Washington and Colorado initiatives, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a statement Wednesday morning saying its "enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged."

"In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance," the DEA said. "The Department of Justice is reviewing the ballot initiatives, and we have no additional comment at this time."

soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. OregonTom

    Just "rolled" into King County!

    November 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sweet Mary Jane

    Saving tax dollars already. :)~

    November 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rider44

    So 'my friend' is about to head down to 7-11 and he wants to buy a 'dime bag' but since he always loses things when he is stoned, he wants to only bring exact change.
    Should he bring $10.00 + $2.50 + $2.50 + $2.40 = $17.50
    Should he bring $10.00 + $2.50 + $3.13 + $3.90 = $19.53

    November 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • OG Mary Jane

      Tell 'your friend' to bring ten bucks.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • OregonTom

      The tax thing is becoming an issue is it not?

      November 9, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      Whatever it is, it's better than sending it to Mexico.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • WA-RES

      Actually the heavy taxes will drive down the price. A dime bag will likely cost 2$. +.50+.50+.50 = $3.50. Yup!

      November 9, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mike

    I really don't understand how the DEA can watch all these states decriminalize this plant but are still calling this a scheduled 1 narcotic... Read the definition of what makes a scheduled 1 narcotic and you will see just how ridiculous this agency really is.

    November 9, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      The US would first have to withdraw from at least one treaty before it could legalize marijuana.

      November 10, 2012 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. Hide Behind

    Spoken like true progressives legal freedom to buy a damn weed for crying out loud.

    You did no more than allow the state to profit and have even stricter limitations on something they had no right butting their noses into in the first place.
    YOU guys must be on some heavy ........

    November 9, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |


    November 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. charlie

    Do the people who had their cases dismissed get their stuff back?

    November 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • crazeelegs

      No, charlie, the cops already smoked it.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. SJB

    Tricky DICK Nixon had potplaced under "Schedule 1 Narcotic." It was considered ridiculous then and it still is now.As long as pot has the distinction of being listed with Heroin, there will be issues with legalizing it. The Nixon/Republican Legacy lives on!

    November 9, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dude from Canada

    Welcome to the free world USA! Puff Puff Blow!

    November 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jimmy

    Anything goes in this country now.Gay marriage,abortion on demand,pot,transgender operations paid for by tax money,you name it and you can do it in the good ole US of A.Stand by to see just how wild things can get in the next four years.America is rotten to the core.Study the fall of other world powers from the past and see how America is falling right in line with them.It was nice while it lasted but now we are just another third world outfit not much different than Mexico or any central american country.

    November 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • crazeelegs

      jimmy, it is time to leave the 20th century.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mark

    Who cares?

    November 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Richard from iPhone 5

    Can anyone answer me this question? Say it is fully passed, well is there any scrutiny as to who can smoke? Meaning doctors and nurses taking care of patients or prison guards. Basically high risk jobs. How could that even be feasible.

    November 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      Well if like Canada basically its treated like drinking if you cant work or drive drunk then you cant be high either

      November 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fgt4urights

      Gee, lets use some common sense here. Marijuana has no effect on your job if your not consuming on your worktime. Period. It actually has less effect than alcohol. If you get drunk the night before on alcohol you can wake up have a hang over and still be drunk. Marijuana doesn't have that effect. It only lasts around 2 hours. Any high skilled jobs or any job for that matter is work time not your time you shouldn't be intoxicated on anything use some common sense please.

      November 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      The states will probably use the same guidelines in place for alcohol.

      November 10, 2012 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. aww

    Aww. Ella's mad because she talked down on pot for so long and now is too old and pathetic to attempt trying it. Good riddance.

    November 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ManPlan

    So Ella, in your little mind, ALL pot smokers are hippies?

    November 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • nativesong

      All hippies are brain dead!!

      November 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      definitely stupid...washington just earned a new state motto "the gateway state for cartel enteprises" not gonna stop with just marijuana...mary jane is not the kinner girl to fly solo...govenor your coffers dedicated to crime just got heavier...

      November 10, 2012 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      Come to Seattle and see how much its booming here mate. And the only thing I need with my chronic is an espresso. This whole gateway stuff I think applies to kids and this law only makes it legal for adults over 21. And Im pretty sure if you are a republican, the banning of harmless substances for adults should be a big no-no. Or are you one of those folks that looks at cannabis as some type of magic plant? lol

      November 10, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • nojusticed

      It looks pretty magical to me right now.

      November 10, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • LiberaLIowan

      Of course you know, there are a lot of us who would like to shoot all the rednecks too.

      November 10, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • herchato

      Not true. Hippies did their thing and changed alot of things in this country for the better. Then they got married, got jobs, got morgtgages, had children, coached little league, soccer, and grew old.

      November 10, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. topcat

    time to invest in phillip morris again. big tobacco will drive prices down and drive the private grower out of business.

    November 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
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