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. sp4q

    "We The People"

    November 10, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |

    Now that the people have spoken ending the "War on Marijuana" which ruined countless lives cost millions in prosecutions, the State wants to make it's self the Dealer. I say to hell with that, I will plant my on marijuana right next to the peas and carrots, and you should too.

    November 10, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. sp4q

    It’s about time. The voters in Washington and Colorado have spoken. Why didn’t the government stop Prop 502 from even being on the ballot before Election Day? The Federal Government needs to step back and honor the peoples vote.
    Congress just needs to get off their butts and change the law.
    The government classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance next to Heroin and LSD.
    I can think of many things that are legal that fit in this category. Alcohol, cigarettes and cigars just to name a few.
    It sicken me when our government can passed a law making marijuana illegal when they haven’t even tried it.
    In my opinion, Congress needs to all come into session, roll a couple of blunts, have a smoke out and just maybe they will come to their senses and make it legal and turn this economy around.

    November 10, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. vatoloke

    Hopefully the first domino to fall...

    November 10, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. Aardie

    That means you were alive before Christ was born. Did you meet him?

    November 10, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I quit smoking over 4 years ago. So. Now, if I wish to hallucinate, all I have to do is pack my bags and move to Seattle?
    It used to be only a few individuals were idiots. Then groups of people became stupid idiots. Now it's starting to look like whole citys of people have become idiots. Soon, if not already, the whole nation is turning to be IDIOTS. You voted for him, so you've made your bed, now lay in it. 😉 Har har har

    November 10, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • allstar

      jeff frank please rolll over and die.

      November 10, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • yonskii

      What? You aren't making any sense.

      November 10, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      The POTUS didn't have anything to do with this.
      I know you hate him, but this is wholly on the states, which, as a GOPer, is what you want, correct?

      November 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guantamamo Inmate

      Jeff, This was a vote by the people of said states, (Colorado and Washington) not by Federal decree.

      November 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hide Behind

    The price of the good weed wil still be high, no different than a winos drink or the Connoisseur and while many who can will grow own there wil be ar more who will buy at legal shops.
    It will still not see everybody running well slowly moving about with a pipe or dewbe in their mouths.
    Smoking of tobbaco is already severely limited in state, in fact the dropping of an ash on grounds is misdemeanor, so those who want will still breathe the normal pollutants when outside.
    Just as state idiots changed liquor laws thinking it would lower cost proved completely false and state now takes in way more tax so too will the wed be found cheaper outside the legal means.

    November 10, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Hide Behind

    Growing good weed is not like planting flowers in aplastic pot and spilling water on them now and then; ir plantig veggies.
    CLONES for starters are not cheap and normal soil or liquids do not cut it but yes a sed can grow something to get a buzz from and the cheapest mexiweed with leaves and stems is most prevalent but stinks, good for kids and street culls who can't get meth and the working poor.
    Making pot main stream good for gov who need happy. Or if not happy can hide in purple euphoria their disgruntlement.
    Then what is to become of the yuppy culture of smoking an illegal weed to show how brigt and enlightened they are.

    November 10, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. J e f f F r a n k (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Scenario: I own a machine shop. I just sent a fellow to the hospital, cause he came in to work stoned, and cut his hand clear off in a metal shear. Now someone new will have to be trained for the job, and my Workmans Comp Premiums are skyrocketing. What do I do?

    November 10, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • anon

      Do whatever you would do if they came into work drunk and cut off their hand.

      November 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • freddie

      You as an employer would be involved in a workmans compensation claim and probably be able to get cleared of any wrong doing if you trained all of your employees about the danger of working with "machines" while intoxicated from the use of alcohol, marijuana, general narcotics both over the counter and from the street. No different than the laws that are in effect right now.

      November 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. J e f f F r a n k (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Scenario: It's illegal as hell, but I take my $900 a month food debit card, and let people use it for cash so I can buy my weed. Hell with the baby formula. I want to be high.

    November 10, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      People have been doing that to buy their booze, anyway, Jeff...because they legalized it, doesn't mean that people will partake of it, same as not all people drink alcohol because they can legally obtain it.

      November 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. J e f f F r a n k (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Yes. I hate everybody..right?

    November 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. J e f f F r a n k (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    As a GOPer? This should be with Democrats as well. But the Democrats have swung way left from Communist intervention. Think I'm joking huh?

    November 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      nope. i think you're delusional and know little about politics or the law for the matter.

      November 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. the prophet

    Even if legend popcorn is dead, still the best moonshine ever is still being produced there, chuck is a good friend now so to the 6 stay put.

    November 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. the prophet

    the best yet CT has passed medical marihuana now we are going to get rich in the east too

    November 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TvNyC

    Good, they should legalize it everywhere. They smoke anyway. Might as well tax it.

    November 10, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
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