OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington’s Supreme Court has thrown out marijuana charges brought against a man in Auburn, saying the city didn’t have the authority to prosecute him under state law.
At the time Dustin Gauntt (GANT’) was arrested in late 2008, the City of Auburn had not adopted any ordinances criminalizing misdemeanor possession of marijuana. He was charged in municipal court with violations of state law and convicted.
Both a King County judge and the state Court of Appeals sided with him, and the Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously agreed Auburn did not have the authority to prosecute him. Justice Tom Chambers wrote that cities are tasked with prosecuting misdemeanors committed within their jurisdictions, but they must have their own laws to enforce.
Since the appeals court ruling, Auburn and some other cities have adopted laws stating that any misdemeanors under state law shall also be crimes under their laws.