Effects are being felt across the country after the November 6th, 2012 election. Marijuana legalization measures were passed in Colorado and Washington. The cause and effect is already revealing implications in the court of law in Washington. On November 9th, 2012 it was announced by The Seattle Times, “In King County, 175 cases are being dismissed involving people 21 and older and possession of one ounce or less.” This news was later updated that another county, Pierce County added more cases to the list being dropped to bring the number to 220 misdemeanor marijuana cases being dropped.
Cases that won’t be dropped from the books in Washington are ones involving situations where the person arrested had more than one ounce of weed. It was stated by King County Prosecutor that the exact line could be a bit fuzzy depending on what the actual weights were reported as when people were arrested. Having over one ounce of weed could still carry felony possession charges.
It was interesting to see different criminal prosecutor’s opinions on Initiative I-502. One prosecutor from Spokane County named Jack Driscoll who said, “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.” Essentially stating that if you don’t buy from regulated state stores which won’t be active for over a year, it’s still illegal. On one side of the coin you have people dropping criminal charges and on another you have people still trying to bust people that have marijuana.
Either way, the I-502 Initiative legalizing small amounts of marijuana was a big change for America and could show things to come for other states. If you want to learn more about how I-502 will be implemented the Washington State Liquor Control Board has put together an I-502 Implementation page with up-to-date information. The most important part from the Fact Sheet explains what happens if people 21 years of age and older are caught with possession of marijuana:
If enacted, individuals twenty-one years of age or older are legally authorized to possess and use:
- One ounce of useable marijuana.
- 16 ounces of marijuana infused product in solid form; or
- 72 ounces of marijuana infused product in liquid form.
- Marijuana-related drug paraphernalia.
Individuals will still be subject to criminal prosecution for:
- Possession in amounts greater than what is listed above.
- Possession of any quantity or kind of marijuana/marijuana infused product by a person
- under 21 years of age.
Here’s more coverage in video format on the legalization of marijuana in WA and CO below: