The Washington State Supreme Court recently nullified the state’s criminal penalties against drug possession, terming them unconstitutional. This was followed by some prosecutors and police departments in the state announcing that they’d no longer pursue cases of possession or arrest individuals over the possession of small amounts of drugs.
The Seattle Police Department issued a public statement that stated that simple drug possession was no longer deemed to be an arrestable offense, adding that effective immediately, officers in the department would not be arresting persons for merely being in possession of drugs.
The Supreme Court ruling only applies to the possession of controlled substances. Other drug legislations in the state, such as the laws that govern the sale of drugs or driving under the influence, remain unaffected.
The Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys also sent a memo that directed its members to drop any ongoing drug possession cases.
Additionally, an official who is a member of the prosecutors’ group wrote an email to the Seattle Police Department stating that police officers should immediately stop arresting individuals for simple drug possession. This would also mean that police officers would not be allowed to search individuals or detain individuals while awaiting the arrival of canine units because they suspect said individuals of being in possession of drugs.
The email also noted that the police officers would need to be advised on whether they’d be permitted to seize any contraband or leave the drugs in the possession of the person in question.
The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs also conveyed guidelines to their members, which noted that under the law that was nullified by the state’s Supreme Court, law enforcement officers would no longer be allowed to seek a search warrant, carry out a criminal investigation, effect an arrest or take any other actions for the simple possession of controlled substances.
Pacific County Prosecutor Ben Haslam stated in an interview that the Supreme Court’s ruling had come as a surprise to the prosecutor’s office. Despite this, he added, the office was working on requesting the immediate release of persons who were currently being held in custody for simple possession.
He remarked that the prosecutor’s office would then move to revoke all active warrants on pending possession cases, going further to note that he expects that moving forward, the office would be required to vacate charges for persons who had been previously convicted of simple possession.
The decision passed down by Washington State’s Supreme Court may be seen as a good one by medical marijuana advocate because many companies are devoting their energies to developing therapeutic formulations from cannabis compounds. For instance, XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) is set to begin clinical trials for its oral and sublingual strip of CBD, which is intended to treat forms of epilepsy that are nonresponsive to existing treatments.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/XPHYF
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