Prosecutors coming around on pot

Posted on Jul 09, 2014

Slowly but surely prosecutors are coming around in their approach to possessing small amounts of marijuana. Over the last several years the general public has become more accepting of marijuana - as shown by votes to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Prosecutors are also slowly coming to recognize that treating small time marijuana user as criminals in counter productive.

Two recent stories are evidence of this trend. In Seattle, the city attorney was the fourth person in line to purchase marijuana. He bought two bags - one for posterity and one for "personal enjoyment".He told a local reporter:

The best way you can support law enforcement is to make this legal and regulate it and tax it and that’s the message

In Brooklyn, the prosecutor said he was going to stop prosecuting small pot cases. The policy is not automatic, since it only applies to those with no or minimal criminal histories. Even with that however, the policy was adopted over the obection of the police department.

These two stories are still the exception and marijuana use - even for small amounts - is still illegal. Nevertheless, public opinion appears to be influencing elected officials. It may only be a matter of time before we stop making criminals of small time marijuana users.

Walter Reaves
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Criminal Defense Attorney Walter Reaves has been practicing law for over 30 years.