Felony pot charges for southwest Washington teens reduced following outcry, review

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ASOTIN, Wash. (AP) — A prosecutor in Washington’s southeastern corner is reducing felony marijuana charges he filed against three teenagers because his office misinterpreted recent changes in state law.

The teens, ages 14, 15 and 17, were charged with felonies that could net them up to five years in prison. Asotin County Prosecutor Ben Nichols initially said an overhaul of Washington’s medical marijuana law passed by the Legislature this year automatically made pot possession by anyone under 21 a felony.

That’s not the case. Possession of less than 40 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor for juveniles. Those over 21 are allowed to possess up to an ounce of dried marijuana.

The prosecutor’s office said Tuesday it is reducing the charges against the teens to misdemeanors.

Late last week, the story of felony charges being levied in Asotin County against the teens went viral. Some news blogs were outraged at the charges, calling the prosecutor “sadistic.”

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