Drug Cases in Grant County 2013 – Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Perspective

I-502 and marijuana decriminalization in Washington State has had a dramatic impact on the courts system for marijuana.  But what has changed in Washington State for the simple possession of small amounts of ecstasy (MDMA), cocaine, ketamine, LSD, or psilocybin?

Grant County WA Drug Lawyer

Arrests for possession of MDMA, psilocybin, ketamine, LSD, and cocaine continue at the Gorge Amphitheater.

Arrests continue for concert goers for even a small amount of those club drugs.  The possession of MDMA, ketamine, LSD and psilocybin in any amount is a felony punishable by a standard range of 0-6 months in jail and up to a $10,000 dollar fine.  As a criminal defense lawyer who works in Grant County, I have seen jail sentences up to 90 days even for individuals with no felony priors.  After I-502 passed last November, I wondered what the summer might bring for drug arrests in Grant County (specifically at the Gorge).  The concert season this summer kicked off with the Sasquatch! Music Festival, with three days of indie rock, alternative and hip hop.  When the court opened up on Tuesday morning (after the long weekend), there were numerous arrests for possession of such drugs as MDMA, ketamine, LSD and psilocybin.  When I was there I asked some people if the police were issuing citations for using marijuana in public (in infraction under I-502) but no one reported seeing any such cases.  Since such tickets don’t bring a risk of jail time, it is less likely for a criminal defense lawyer to be involved in such cases.

The police claim to have as a priority cases of possession with intent to deliver, or delivery of a controlled substance.  However, the people selling such drugs can be hard to catch, and the jail roster is made up mostly of simple possession cases.  At the Gorge, concert goers are often detained by the staff security.  Criminal defense lawyers often see reserve officers deployed, as well as fulltime commissioner law enforcement.  If there is any silver lining, it seems that by the time the charges make it to court, the officers’ memories are so poor that they don’t recall one case from the next.  The reports on these Grant County cases seem so rushed, that criminal defense lawyers are often able to pick the cases apart.

When I talked to some people that had been arrested for possession of drugs, it almost seemed like marijuana decriminalization in Grant County freed up the police to crack down further on instances involving MDMA, ketamine, LSD and psilocybin.  Should the legislature really make it a felony to possess even small amounts of such drugs?  It seems like the passing of I-502 was not motivated by any sense of libertarianism, nor of a sense that drug abuse should be addressed as a public health issue.  Rather I-502 was passed mostly out a desire to bring in more tax revenue.

For more info on drug cases in Grant County, see: //www.grahamdefense.com/Grant-County-Criminal-Lawyer.aspx

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR….
Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking: www.grahamdefense.com
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