The King County Prosecutor’s Office announced Friday it will dismiss all of its misdemeanor marijuana possession cases, following the passage of Initiative 502.
The initiative, which was approved in Tuesday’s general election, legalizes marijuana possession of one ounce or less in Washington state starting Dec. 6 for individuals age 21 and older.
Because of the prosecutor’s decision, the King County Sheriff’s Office announced that deputies in unincorporated areas will not be directed to arrest individuals who fall under the possession threshold.
The decision will affect 175 King County cases that are filed or referred for filing, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.
King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said dismissing these cases was the right thing to do in light of Tuesday’s vote.
“Although the effective date of I-502 is not until Dec. 6, there is no point in continuing to seek criminal penalties for conduct that will be legal next month,” Satterberg said.
King County Sheriff Steve Strachan said in a press release Friday that his office will “not focus on behavior that will be legal under Washington State law after Dec. 6.”
There are 12 cities that contract with the Sheriff’s Office for police services. It remains the policy decision of the municipal attorneys and policy makers of those cities to determine how they will proceed between now and Dec. 6, according to the Sheriff’s Office.