Lifestyle & Belief

Washington counties drop marijuana possession cases


Hydroponic plant growing system is on display in the weGrow marijuana cultivation supply store during its grand opening March 30, 2012.


Alex Wong

Washington's two most populous counties have dropped 225 pending possession cases in the wake of the state's legalization of marijuana.

The state's I-502 initiative, which was voted into effect on Tuesday, makes it legal to possess one ounce or less of weed. 

“Although the effective date of I-502 is not until Dec. 6, there is no point in continuing to seek criminal penalties for conduct that will be legal next month,” said Dan Satterberg, prosecutor of King County, the state's largest — which includes Seattle, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported

"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," Satterberg added. 

More from GlobalPost: Marijuana legalized in Colorado, Washington

King County Sheriff Steve Strachan subsequently directed his deputies not to arrest or request charges against people found carrying an ounce or less.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist also announced he would dismiss over 40 cases in which simple marijuana possession was the only offense, the Seattle Times reported. Those connected to other charges, however, would continue. 

Washington's marijuana initiative also allows for a system that will allow licenses to grow and sell weed in shops, the Associated Press reported.

Colorado also legalized recreational use of marijuana on election day; a similar measure was defeated in Oregon.