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Post Election, County and Sheriff’s Office Says They Won’t Focus On Marijuana

Following a change in filing by the King County Prosecutor’s office, King County Sheriff’s Office deputies will not be directed to arrest or charge individuals caught with one ounce or less of marijuana following of the passage of I-502.

Earlier Friday (Nov. 9), the King County Prosecutor’s Office made a prosecutorial decision to dismiss several cases of marijuana possess – here’s a statement from their website [1]:

The King County Prosecutor’s Office announced today that it will be dismissing all of its misdemeanor marijuana possession cases as a result of the passage of Initiative 502, which legalizes marijuana possession of one ounce or less in Washington State. Today’s decision will impact 175 King County cases that are currently filed or referred for filing involving individuals age 21 and older who possessed one ounce or less of marijuana. With the passage of I-502, marijuana possession of one ounce or less by individuals age 21 and older will become legal in the State of Washington on December 6. King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said that dismissing these cases is the right thing to do in light of Tuesday’s vote. “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.

“Now that the initiative has passed, and now that the Prosecutor’s Office won’t be charging the individuals, we will also not focus on behavior that will be legal under Washington State law after Dec. 6th” said King County Sheriff Steve Strachan.

There are 12 municipalities that contract with the Sheriff’s Office for police services.

It remains the policy decision of the municipal attorneys and policy makers of those cities to determine how they will proceed between now and Dec. 6th.

This decision only affects the deputies working in unincorporated King County.

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