There’s definitely change in the air around Washington state regarding the prosecutions of medical marijuana patients. Three more cases being tracked by the Cannabis Defense Coalition were dropped this week, one in Kitsap County, one in Pierce County, and one in King County.
In Kitsap County, charges against Monte Levine and Marc Derenzy, who have been fighting Kitsap County authorities for nearly a decade, were dropped. According to Levine:
Yesterday my partner Marc and I went into Kitsap Superior Court. I had been scheduled for an Omnibus Hearing on the charge of Manufacturing Marijuana. Instead we picked up the Order of Dismissal. We stood in front of newly elected judge Olson, who smiled broadly as she signed our orders.
The prosecution stated that it was not in the best interest of justice to pursue this case. We were told that the Kitsap Prosecutors will meet and confer before moving forward with any manufacturing case that involves marijuana.
In Pierce County, charges against Michael Byers have been dropped. Byers has been raided three times in the past five years by Pierce County authorities despite being an authorized medical marijuana patient.
The case in King County that was dropped this week was a little different, as the defendant, Gaura Kish, did not have a medical marijuana authorization at the time of his arrest for being in possession of a small amount of marijuana. However, when the prosecutor noticed that there were over a dozen observers in the courtroom, he reviewed the defendant’s medical records and decided that the case was not in line with King County’s policies for trying medical marijuana patients.
A fourth case in Mason County, that I mentioned here, had a hearing yesterday in front of a group of courtroom observers. According to one person via email, the prosecutor seemed very agitated during the entire proceeding. The next court date for that case is on May 4th in Shelton. If you’d like to be an observer, please contact the folks at the CDC.
I’m not sure what to make of this trend other than to see these dismissals as a recognition from our public officials that the general public is fed up with our marijuana laws and that there’s now a real price to pay politically from continuing to waste taxpayer money like this. In the recent online question and answer forum set up by the state’s Senate Democrats, the top question was about arresting non-violent drug offenders. And the short infomercial on our marijuana laws filmed by Rick Steves (that KOMO TV refused to air) has just been nominated for a Northwest Emmy. Times are changing quickly, folks. Let’s see if the clown car in Olympia can keep up.