Seattle’s New City Attorney to Dismiss Cases of Pot Possession

Seattle’s new city attorney is dismissing all marijuana-possession cases, starting with those that were already under way under the old city attorney.

City Attorney Pete Holmes, who beat incumbent Tom Carr in November, said he dismissed two marijuana-related cases in his first day on the job, and several others are about to be dismissed.

In addition, his new criminal division chief, Craig Sims, said he is reviewing about 50 more cases. Unless there are “out of the ordinary circumstances,” Sims said, the office doesn’t intend to file charges for marijuana possession.

“We’re not going to prosecute marijuana-possession cases anymore,” Holmes said Thursday during a public interview as part of Town Hall’s Nightcap series. “I meant it when I said it” during the campaign.

Seattle voters approved Referendum 75 in 2003, making marijuana the lowest priority for local law enforcement. City records show that Carr still prosecuted many cases.

In the first six months of 2009, Carr declined eight of the 62 marijuana-related cases filed with his office, a city report shows. Of the cases he took up, marijuana was the only charge in 21 cases. In the second half of 2008, Carr dismissed 21 marijuana-related cases and filed 60 others. Of those, marijuana possession was the only charge in 20 cases.

Holmes’ policy change comes amid several state-level efforts to decriminalize or legalize marijuana.

A ballot initiative filed Monday would legalize adult marijuana possession, manufacturing and sales in the state. The Legislature is also considering two bills to decriminalize and regulate marijuana, or to make it legal in the state.

The drug would remain illegal under federal law.

– Article from Seattle Times on January 15, 2010.



  1. jomila on

    Yeah so hopefully they throw Marcs case out to, considering he didn’t even commit a crime in the US.

  2. Anonymous on

    Or at least possession is currently not prosecuted and manufacturing may be made legal in the state soon.

  3. Anonymous on

    Great, so Marc will be sentenced to 5 years for conspiracy to manufacture in a court located in a city where manufacturing marijuana isn’t even illegal. Does anyone else see something bizarre about that scenario?

  4. Anonymous on

    I just wish we had people like him here in Illinois. It’s about time someone in the criminal justice system has come to the realization that prosecuting people for marijuana possession is just a waste of time and money. Let’s just hope the rest of the country comes to its senses soon and cannabis is legalized everywhere for adults to use. That’s the only real way we can control it. Let me be frank: I don’t smoke pot anymore, not since my daughter was born, and I want marijuana legalized and controlled so that it won’t be as easy for her to get as it was when I was a kid. The only way to do this is to regulate it. Having it illegal not only costs the government billions in enforcement and unpaid taxes, it also exposes our children to other more harmful drugs because most dealers will sell anything to anyone with enough money to pay for it. I don’t want my daughter being offered cocaine and crystal meth by her pot dealer like me and my friends were, I want marijuana sold by licensed vendors who ask for I.D. just like alcohol and tobacco. Believe me when I say that where I live it’s easier for kids to get pot, meth, and coke than it is booze because drug dealers don’t ask for I.D.

  5. Anonymous on

    Sounds like a sane and reasonable guy so far. I’d vote for him.