The Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday, Nov. 20 that it will dismiss pending misdemeanor marijuana possession and paraphernalia charges following the passage of Initiative 502 legalizing possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use which takes effect on Dec. 6.
“While the initiative was not retroactive and there is no legal right to this relief, a majority of voters clearly prefer that we devote our limited resources to other matters,” said Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Kelly. “Accordingly, it makes sense to discontinue prosecution on the handful of such matters currently pending and devote the resources otherwise utilized to crimes against persons and property.”
She cautioned that possession of any quantity of marijuana for those under age twenty-one remains unlawful and that outside of the medical marijuana exception, it remains unlawful for anyone to grow, distribute, or possess more than an ounce until the Liquor Board begins licensing in December 2013.
Kelly also noted, “I remain skeptical that any significant tax revenue will be generated by the initiative and anticipate little to no financial relief from it on prosecution and incarceration. Clallam County has been offering pre-file diversion to most offenders who fall in this category for some time and currently has only five such cases actually filed. Medical marijuana long ago substantially reduced the number of felony prosecutions and I expect the initiative to have virtually no effect on those remaining. This office will continue to prioritize crimes against persons but no one should expect that the initiative will have any discernable positive impact on our resources.”