Lincoln and Whitman Counties Dropping Marijuana Cases - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Lincoln and Whitman Counties Dropping Marijuana Cases

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SPOKANE, Wash. - The Lincoln and Whitman County prosecutors are joining other prosecutors around the state in dropping misdemeanor marijuana possession cases in the wake of voters legalizing the recreational use of the drug.

Lincoln County Prosecutor Jeff Barkdull told KHQ his office is going to immediately drop all minor marijuana cases that fit the requirement of the law including those defendants who are over the age of 21 and were caught with less than an ounce of marijuana. That amounts to about 10 cases. Barkdull said it didn't make a lot of sense to prosecute those cases when they would be legal in a few weeks.

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy also said his office would immediately dismiss similar marijuana cases. Tracy said he'd offer an expedited resolution to the case if the defendant paid $50 and had one month of good behavior. Tracy estimates that will amount to about 20 cases.

Ferry County Prosecutor Michael Sandona said his office is currently handling around 20 open cases of possession of marijuana and says he does not plan to drop any of them. He said he was fine with the current system that's in place to handle them.

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker has yet to make a decision on this. Officials with his office told KHQ on Monday he's waiting to decide until he goes to a prosecutors conference next month. That conference, set for Dec. 5 through Dec. 7, takes place during the same time the marijuana initiative takes effect.

At that time, officials said, Tucker also plans to speak with federal officials since passing of Initiative-502 puts our state and federal substance abuse laws at odds. 

KHQ also left messages for prosecutors in Grant, Stevens, Adams, and Pend Oreille counties as well but calls and messages were not immediately returned.

Initiative 502, which legalizes marijuana use of one ounce or less in Washington, goes into effect December 6.

Also today, Clark County prosecutors announced it would drop similar cases, which came on the heels of King and Pierce county prosecutors last week.

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