Voters will have the opportunity to elect a new Maricopa County Attorney this year. Three of the ten candidates competing for the position claim that they won’t prosecute marijuana possession cases if elected.
Bill Montgomery, the current Maricopa County Attorney, highly opposes marijuana legalization and filed approximately 5,000 marijuana possession cases in 2015 and 2016, Phoenix New Times noted. In Arizona, non-medical marijuana cardholders can be charged with a felony for possessing any amount of marijuana.
These three candidates, all Democrats, agree that the county’s resources should be focused somewhere other than marijuana possession cases:
- Criminal defense attorney Ryan Tait
- Criminal defense attorney Robert McWhirter
- Business lawyer Julie Gunnigle
Ryan Tait stated: “The harm associated with marijuana just hasn’t been established sufficiently to warrant an all-out criminal conviction.”
Gunnigle stated: “It costs us an obscene amount of money to go after marijuana possession.”
McWhirter stated: “I know Montgomery and [Yavapai County Attorney] Sheila Polk have made big statements about how marijuana is a dangerous drug and blah blah blah. Yeah there are problems with marijuana, but compared to alcohol, it’s small potatoes.”