After marijuana was approved by voters in Colorado and Washington in 2012, prosecutors in Boulder, Denver, King County, and Pierce County came out publicly stating that they would drop some current marijuana cases even though the laws hadn’t taken effect yet. Their reasoning was that even though marijuana wasn’t technically legal at the time, it would be very soon, so what’s the point of prosecuting people for something that was soon to be legal? This is something that I was hoping would happen in Oregon, and expressed that desire many times on election night via Twitter.
It appears that the conversation is starting up among some Oregon prosecutors, as I had predicted would happen. Per Oregon Live:
“We are going to go through and look at every case individually and make a decision,” Horner said. “Some will continue and some we will be dismissing.”
As for whether prosecutors would take on new marijuana cases between now and July 1, 2015, when Measure 91 goes into effect, he said prosecutors will consult with police agencies in the county before making a decision.
This of course will not be the case everywhere in Oregon. Anti-marijuana crusaders like Josh Marquis and Tom Bergin will no doubt pursue every case to the end and try to convict as many people as they possibly can before the clock runs out on marijuana prohibition in Oregon. However, I’m confident that much friendlier counties will take a more sensible approach and take a hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement. After all, it’s the responsible thing to do with taxpayer’s time and dollars, and it’s clearly what Oregon voters want to happen.