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Post-502: Washington Prosecutors Dismiss 220 Marijuana Cases

Posted on  November 12, 2012 by  News Admin

 Prosecutors in Washington's two most populous counties are dismissing more than 220 misdemeanor marijuana cases after state voters on Tuesday decriminalized small amounts of cannabis. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg is dismissing 175 cases, and Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said he was dismissing "about four dozen" such misdemeanor cases where marijuana is the only offense, reports Jonathan Martin at The Seattle Times. The prosecutors decided to apply I-502 -- which removes criminal penalties for up to an ounce of marijuana -- retroactively. I-502 comes into effect on December 6, one month after voters approved it in Tuesday's general election. "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," Satterberg said. The dismissed cases involved pot arrests in unincorporated areas of King County, as well as state highways on the University of Washington. About 40 of the cases had already been filed in court as criminal charges. Those charges will be dismissed. Another 135 cases were waiting for charging decisions and will be returned to the arrest police agency. Pierce County Prosecutor Lindquist said he was throwing out "about four dozen" pending cases where misdemeanor marijuana possession is the only offense. "The people have spoken through this initiative," Lindquist said. "And as a practical matter, I don't think you could sell a simple marijuana case to a jury after this initiative passed." He said he and his staff would continue...