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Local Officials Drop Marijuana Cases After New Laws

Monday, November 12th, 2012

gavelAs states and local governments change the laws on marijuana, local officials have to decide which laws to enforce—local laws or federal laws that still classify marijuana as an illegal substance.

Voters in both Washington and Colorado legalized the recreational use of marijuana at the ballot on November 6. In Washington, prosecutors in two of the state’s most populous counties say they are planning to dismiss 225 misdemeanor marijuana possession cases currently in the pipeline. All of the cases involve only charges of marijuana possession with no other accompanying charges. King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg told Reuters, “There seems to be no point in continuing to prosecute cases for conduct that’s going to be legal in a couple of weeks.”

Police officers in Michigan are taking a different approach. In Flint, Mich., 57 percent of voters decided to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. However, Flint police and Michigan state troopers are vowing to continue marijuana arrests and the county prosecutor says he still plans to review cases brought to prosecutors. “We’re still police officers and we’re still empowered to enforce the laws of the state of Michigan and the United States,” Flint police Chief Alvern Lock told the Associated Press. “We’re still going to enforce the laws as we’ve been enforcing them.”

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Source: Reuters Marijuana possession cases in Washington state going up in smoke

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