About 46 local marijuana cases to be dismissed

Passage of state law affects some misdemeanors

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: November 13, 2012, 5:53 PM

 

In response to a new law legalizing marijuana, Clark County prosecutors said Tuesday they will dismiss misdemeanor possession of marijuana cases against approximately 46 defendants.

The cases are expected to be dismissed Dec. 6, the day Initiative 502, which legalizes recreational use of up to 1 ounce of marijuana in Washington, takes effect.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Fairgrieve said there are about 46 defendants who are covered by the new law — who are at least age 21 and allegedly possessed 28 grams or less of marijuana.

Fairgrieve added that the number is an estimate based on a query of the prosecutor’s office’s pending possession of marijuana cases. The misdemeanor charge encompasses possession of up to 40 grams of marijuana, meaning not all cases would be covered by the new law.

Already, prosecutors in Pierce and King counties have announced they plan to dismiss charges against dozens, if not hundreds, of defendants.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has sought guidance from the federal government on whether federal officials will attempt to block the state measure. On Tuesday, Gregoire received no input from the federal government.

Prosecutors have said the measure will not affect other cases, such as delivery of marijuana or felony possession cases.