Marijuana

Hundreds of marijuana possession cases already dismissed in Washington

Thursday, November 15, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: marijuana, possession, Washington

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
BACK INTO THE CLOSET: Why U.S. reporters are not allowed to write about rainbow events in nations where being gay is still condemned
Depopulation test run? 75% of children who received vaccines in Mexican town now dead or hospitalized
A family destroyed: Six-month-old dies after clinic injects baby with 13 vaccines at once without mother's informed consent
Biologist explains how marijuana causes tumor cells to commit suicide
INVESTIGATION: Three days before Dr. Bradstreet was found dead in a river, U.S. govt. agents raided his research facility to seize a breakthrough cancer treatment called GcMAF
Companies begin planting microchips under employees' skin
BAM! Chipotle goes 100% non-GMO; flatly rejecting the biotech industry and its toxic food ingredients
ECONOMIC SLAVERY FOR ALL: While we were distracted with the Confederate flag flap, Congress quietly forfeited our entire economic future via fast-track trade authority
NJ cops bust teenagers shoveling snow without a permit
Chemotherapy kills cancer patients faster than no treatment at all
McDonald's in global profit free fall as people everywhere increasingly reject chemically-altered toxic fast food
March Against Monsanto explodes globally... World citizens stage massive protests across 38 countries, 428 cities... mainstream media pretends it never happened
Italian court rules mercury and aluminum in vaccines cause autism: US media continues total blackout of medical truth
SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision may have just legalized the concealed carry of loaded firearms across all 50 states, nullifying gun laws everywhere
Orthorexia Nervosa - New mental disorder aimed at people who insist on eating a clean diet
Vicious attack on Dr. Oz actually waged by biotech mafia; plot to destroy Oz launched after episode on glyphosate toxicity went viral
Nearly every mass shooting in the last 20 years shares one surprising thing? and it's not guns
Holistic cancer treatment pioneer Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez dies suddenly; patients mourn the loss of a compassionate, innovative doctor who helped thousands heal from cancer
Delicious
(NaturalNews) There is a legal showdown brewing between the federal government and two states whose residents voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana earlier this month, as local prosecutors in one of those states - Washington - have already begun dismissing hundreds of cases involving persons who were caught with the illegal substance prior to Election Day.

Prosecutors in King County - which includes the cities of Seattle and Bellevue - and Pierce County, directly to the south, have dismissed more than 220 misdemeanor pot cases following voter approval Nov. 6 of Initiative 502, or I-502, which makes possession of one ounce of marijuana legal after Dec. 6. Though technically the law does not take effect for a couple more weeks, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg decided to apply I-502 retroactively.

"Although the effective date of I-502 is not until December 6, there is no point in continuing to seek criminal penalties for conduct that will be legal next month," he said in a statement.

Local papers said the dismissed cases involved arrests in unincorporated King County, as well as the state highways and the University of Washington. About 40 of the cases had already been filed as criminal charges but those will be dismissed. Another 135 were pending charging decisions; they will now be returned to the arresting police agency, the Seattle Times said.

'The people have spoken'

Meanwhile, in Pierce County, Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said he was dismissing "about four dozen" cases involving misdemeanor possession of pot as the only offense. He said his office would continue to prosecute cases where marijuana possession was a secondary offense to a more serious charge, like drunk driving.

"The people have spoken through this initiative," said Lindquist. "And as a practical matter, I don't think you could sell a simple marijuana case to a jury after this initiative passed."

Satterberg told the Times his office will continue prosecuting marijuana possession cases above the one ounce limit, which will allow for "a buffer for those whose scales are less than accurate."

He said he routinely allows his staff to let defendants who were initially charged with felony pot possession - those who are caught with more than 40 grams - to plead down to a misdemeanor.

"I think when the people voted to change the policy, they weren't focused on when the effective date of the new policy would be. They spoke loudly and clearly that we should not treat small amounts of marijuana as an offense," he told the paper.

The campaign manager for I-502, Alison Holcomb, said she was "incredibly moved" by Satterberg's decision, adding he showed "incredible courage."

A study conducted by a group of academics found that in the state of Washington there had been 241,000 misdemeanor marijuana possession cases over the past 25 years, with 67,000 of them in the past five years alone.

"If 502 hadn't passed," said Holcomb, "we'd see the same amount of marijuana possession cases every year. What makes a difference is changing the law."

I-502 campaign manager Alison Holcomb said she was "incredibly moved" by Satterberg's announcement, which she said showed "incredible courage."

Satterberg is the first county prosecutor to change his agency's charging policy in the wake of 502's passage, but other prosecutors are considering similar changes as well.

Tom McBride, of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, told the Times his office was "just starting to work through those issues."

City of Seattle Attorney Pete Holmes, meanwhile, has never prosecuted misdemeanor possession cases since taking office.

Will Washington continue to pick sides in state legal issues?

Not all prosecutors are taking such a lax approach. Spokane County prosecutor Jack Driscoll told the Spokesman-Review newspaper that, even after the Dec. 6 date, the only marijuana that could be possessed legally would have to come from state-licensed stores called for in I-502, and those won't be created for at least a year.

"The only thing that is legal is selling marijuana through those stores," Driscoll said. "That will be regulated by the state. You can't under this initiative have an ounce of marijuana that doesn't come from a state-issued provider. You still can't have black-market marijuana."

At the moment, possession of, or use of, marijuana remains against federal law, so the passage of I-502 and a similar measure in Colorado sets these states up for a legal clash with the U.S. Justice Department.

It wasn't clear yet whether the Obama administration would make the initiatives as much of an issue as, say, suing the state of Arizona over its recent immigration reform law (which was modeled after federal law) or going after several other states whose citizens passed initiatives like the one in Washington that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

That's the trouble with picking sides in legal issues; justice is no longer blind.

Sources:

http://blogs.seattletimes.com

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://www.cnn.com

Follow real-time breaking news headlines on
Marijuana at FETCH.news
Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.