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The King County Prosecutor's Office says it'll dismiss all its misdemeanor marijuana possession cases because of the passage of I-502. (AP Photo)

King County dropping misdemeanor marijuana possession cases

The King County Prosecutor's Office says it'll immediately dismiss all of its misdemeanor marijuana possession cases because of the passage of I-502, legalizing marijuana possession of one ounce or less.

There are currently 175 cases currently filed or referred for filing with the county prosecutor's office that involve someone who is 21-years-old or older, and who had an ounce or less.

Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg says it's the right thing to do in light of the voters' decision.

"Although the effective date of I-502 is not until December 6, there is no point in continuing to seek criminal penalties for conduct that will be legal next month," Satterberg said.

Possessing an ounce or less of marijuana will become legal in Washington on Dec. 6.

Meanwhile, Seattle police officers say they'll follow state law, even though they've made an oath to also uphold federal laws, to stop making arrests for marijuana possession as defined under I-502.

The Seattle Police Department has posted a list of guidelines and important issues to remember if considering possessing marijuana.

Can I legally carry around an ounce of marijuana? Please note that the initiative says it "is unlawful to open a package containing marijuana...in view of the general public." You probably shouldn't bring pot with you to the federal courthouse or any other federal property.

Well, where can I legally buy pot, then? The Washington State Liquor Control Board is working to establish guidelines for the sale and distribution of marijuana.

Will police officers be able to smoke marijuana? As of right now, no. This is still a very complicated issue.

What happens if I get pulled over and I'm sober, but an officer or his K9 buddy smells the ounce of Super Skunk I've got in my trunk? Under state law, officers have to develop probable cause to search a closed or locked container.

Read more from the Seattle Police Blotter


Stephanie Klein, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Stephanie joined the MyNorthwest.com team in February 2008. She has built the site into a two-time National Edward R. Murrow Award winner (Best Radio Website 2010, 2012).
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