If you live in Seattle and have been hiding under a rock (or aren’t a Seattle criminal defense attorney like me) you probably haven’t heard the good news. The city will no longer be prosecuting marijuana possession cases. Officially. Like cases are being dismissed right now. Is this good or bad? Read on to find out.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves here, let’s clarify what this policy decision actually covers. It only covers simple possession cases. This means when people have just a little bit of weed on them – usually for personal use. The Pablo Escobar’s of the world will remain enemies of the state mostly at Chung, Malhas & Mantel, PLLC.
If you don’t have any social life or are trying to get elected as the city attorney somewhere other than Seattle, you might argue that this will cause an uptick in marijuana use. Without any consequences attached to possessing it, many think over night everyone everywhere will be high as a kite.
Although this is possible, I highly doubt much difference will be seen by the average person. The fact of the matter is that marijuana in those quantities is so widely distributed and consumed that there isn’t much farther to go with this new law. People still likely won’t be smoking pot out on the street – at least those that aren’t doing it already.
A side effect I see, and only because I am indirectly involved as a Seattle criminal attorney, is a drop in revenues for those specializing in simple drug possession charges. And those people are out there. If there are no more prosecutions, there are no more fees associated with helping someone out of it. This could leave some lawyers starving for work.
With the loss in fees comes the loss of the fun of the case. Most marijuana possession cases are the result of the cops somehow getting their hands on a defendant or in his things. And most of the time this is done illegally. It’s going to be sad to see these cases go if for no other reason than the fun they are to work.
In the end, this law will have one great benefit, which the City Attorney was looking for – it will save a lot of money, both in investigation, police manpower, and time in the criminal courts. And college kids and dead heads can breathe a sigh of relief.