Reno will stop prosecuting low-level marijuana possession
Hall said the cases would likely be dismissed in January. Extenuating circumstances could still merit prosecution, he said.
Current law states a person possessing one ounce or less of marijauana is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $600 or treatment. A second offence carries a fine of not more than $1,000 or assignment to a treatment program. A third offense is a gross misdemeanor and a fourth offense is a category E felony.
Hall said he had not spoken to Mayor Hillary Schieve about the decision. Schieve did not respond to a request for comment. Other offenses such as driving under the influence, possession by a minor, providing marijuana to a minor or smoking in public would still be prosecuted, he said.
Hall’s decision only effects Reno. Sparks has its own city attorney and the Washoe County district attorney handles all citations in unincorporated areas.
Sparks City Attorney Chet Adams said he would still prosecute until the law officially changes.
“My view is that until it becomes legal it is illegal,” he said.
Sparks Police Officer Ken Gallup, a spokesman for the department, said there would be no changes in enforcement in Sparks.
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks, who oversees citations and misdemeanors in unincorporated areas, said he planned to continue prosecuting until the law takes effect.
“My obligation is to follow the law that’s in place,” Hicks said. “I intend on doing that until Jan. 1 and then I will follow that law when it’s in place.”
Washoe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bob Harmon said there are currently no plans to change enforcement from their department.
Joe Brezny, a spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said he applauded the decisions by Hall and the Clark County District Attorney’s office and didn’t understand why other municipalities were remaining steadfast in wanting to prosecute. He added that it was totally within their right to do so since the law doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1.
“The people spoke on this and they spoke pretty definitively,” Brezny said. “So what they’re saying is for the next couple months, they’re going to go against the will of the people who said they want to treat this like alcohol and waste prosecutorial resources.”