The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office decision Sept. 30 to no longer pursue adult possession of marijuana charges under an ounce prompted Monroe County prosecuting attorney Erika Oliphant to publish a news release about Monroe County’s position.
While Oliphant supports the decriminalization of possession of marijuana, the power to change criminal code requires legislative action.
“Her position is that she cannot legally or ethically proclaim a blanket refusal to prosecute possession of marijuana cases because that is, in essence, passing legislation,” the news release said.
There have been seven convictions for possession of marijuana in 2019, while there were 37 convictions in 2018.
Monroe County does not heavily focus on the prosecution of possession of marijuana crimes, according to the news release. Programs, such as the Pretrial Diversion Program, are often used in marijuana possession cases to keep people out of jail.
The news release said approximately 80% of Monroe County possession of marijuana cases are resolved through the Pretrial Diversion Program.
The program does have a cost, but Oliphant has made the fee waiver program more accessible for those who are unable to pay.