Seattle is vacating hundreds of misdemeanor marijuana convictions that occurred prior to the State of Washington legalizing recreational marijuana in 2012. The municipal court is vacating all misdemeanor marijuana convictions prosecuted by the Seattle City Attorney since 1996, when the city first took over prosecutions from the county. Because the conduct related to the convictions are no longer criminal in the Washington, the City Attorney filed a motion to vacate those convictions. Based on the interests of justice, the judges agreed, setting aside the convictions and dismissing the cases.
3o states currently allow the use of medical marijuana. 9 states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana use and possession. In Minnesota, the possession of marijuana is still against the law. We do have a medical marijuana law, but the law does not allow the use of the plant, only liquid, oil or pills.
Minnesota has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, less than 42.5 grams or 1.4 grams in a motor vehicle. However, any amount of the resinous form of marijuana (e.g. oil, wax, etc.), without a prescription, is subject to criminal charges. The possession of small amounts the plant form of marijuana in Minnesota can still be charged as a petty misdemeanor. Although a petty misdemeanor, is not a criminal offense, the conviction is publicly available and shows up on the Minnesota Court’s database which can impact finding a jobs and housing, and limit other opportunities. More importantly, the smell of marijuana, gives law enforcement probable cause to search which often leads to the discovery of evidence of other crimes.
In 2018, the City of Minneapolis announced they would no longer enforce laws against low-level marijuana sales which previously would result in felony controlled substance sale charges by the County Attorney’s Office. The Minneapolis Police clarified that marijuana is still illegal in Minneapolis, but they will only make discretionary arrests when appropriate.
Minnesota defense lawyer Coley Grostyan defends those accused of marijuana crimes throughout the State of Minnesota.