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Snohomish County executive supportive of repealing 2-gram policy

(Seattle Police Department)

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers fully supports the wish of the county prosecutor, Adam Cornell, to reverse the county’s 2-gram policy, and says this could be done any time.

The policy, enacted in 2018, holds that anyone caught with less than 2 grams of hard drugs — deemed a personal possession amount — will not be prosecuted. If Cornell gets his way, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will return to treating that possession as a crime.

However, Somers worries about how this would work with the entire system that the prosecutor is a part of.

“He asked for four additional people to implement that, and my concern was … that first of all, we would have to cut somewhere else in the county,” he said. “And, there are implications to the rest of the criminal justice system — how many new sheriff’s deputies do we need, what’s the impact on the courts, the public defender’s office?”

About three-fourths of the general funds budget go toward criminal justice, Somers said. He proposed a timeout in his budget this year to figure out what the cost would be.

“A large part of what we need to do is just be better at being an efficient government,” he said. “And that includes in the criminal justice system. So maybe there are some things we’re doing that we don’t need to do that can help pay for this.”

The county has only enacted one property tax increase in the past decade, according to Somers. This makes the budget of Snohomish County just two-thirds the size of Pierce County, a county that is comparable in population.

“In order to pay for additional people, something either has to go, or we have to ask the taxpayers for more money,” he said.

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