Marijuana: No More Possession Prosecutions in Seattle, New City Attorney Says

Seattle's new city attorney has better things to do than prosecute pot smokers, he said January 14. City Attorney Pete Holmes announced he was dismissing all marijuana possession cases, starting with those filed by his predecessor, Tom Carr, whom Holmes defeated in November. He said he dismissed two cases his first day on the job, and several others are about to be dismissed.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/peteholmes.jpg
Pete Holmes
"We're not going to prosecute marijuana possession cases anymore," said Holmes. "I meant it when I said it" during the campaign.

Holmes' criminal division chief, Craig Sims, added that he is reviewing an additional 50 cases. Barring "out of the ordinary" circumstances, Sims said, the prosecutor's office does not intend to file charges for marijuana possession.

Although voters in pot-friendly Seattle approved a 2003 initiative making marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority, former City Attorney Carr was still prosecuting pot busts. In the last half of 2008, his office handled 81 marijuana-related cases, with Carr dismissing 21 and filing charges in 60 others, including 20 where pot possession was the only charge. In the first half of 2009, Carr declined only eight of 62 marijuana-related cases, including 21 where possession was the only charge.

Holmes' change of policy comes amidst a climate increasingly favorable to marijuana law reform in Washington state. A state assembly committee held hearings on a pair of decriminalization and legalization bills last week -- they were defeated in committee this week -- and a group of Seattle-based activists also announced last week that they were beginning a drive to get a legalization initiative on the ballot in November.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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please please

Share with us here in Cali how u were able to get this passed...EVERY state needs to follow through!

passed?

You better brush up on those reading comprehension skills. Nothing was passed, yet. It says, at the end of the article, nothing in Washington State was passed by the committees. Now, the people are going to try to get it on the ballot as a referendum.

Jean Boyd's picture

Right on Mr. Holmes

Seattle is one of the coolest places in the States. Maybe because we are so close to Canada's progressive drug laws. Whatever, I am more than pleased with Pete Holmes. Hopefully other cities will get a clue. As far as the two bills that did not pass, we are not too worried because (hopefully) we are going to legalize with the next referendum. This will end all the confusion about how many, how much and where. Keep imagining people, a world free from the violence and corruption of draconian drug laws.

Criminal Statistics

I will be interested to see how this affects crime rates in Seattle. Those statistics could probably be used to help the argument for legalization.

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