News and Information
Seattle Marijuana Review Panel Releases Final Report
(Seattle, WA) Seattle's marijuana deprioritization law, similar to Missoula County's, also established a
committee called the Marijuaan Review Panel. Their final report on implementation of the I-75 is
November 14th, 2007: Oversight Committee Releases First Report
The Committee's first report is now available
Read the press release
October 20th, 2007: Missoula County attorney to police: Halt misdemeanor arrests for pot
: Nearly a year after voters made the Garden City a little greener by asking county law enforcement to ignore adult marijuana offenses,
Missoula's top prosecutor has adopted an official policy to uphold the referendum.
County Attorney's Office policy statement
September 14th, 2007: Oversight Committee Releases Letter to the Community
To the Missoula Community:
On November 7, 2006, Missoula County voters passed Initiative #2, which recommended that County officials treat adult marijuana crimes as their lowest priority.
In several Missoula city precincts the initiative passed with a vote of more than 80%....
August 3, 2007: Missoula County's Lowest-Priority Marijuana Policy Is Working, Oversight Committee Reports
August 2007 – Missoula County's lowest priority marijuana initiative appears to be working well, and its citizen oversight committee is on track to issue its first annual report on the new policy this coming November, the committee announced today.
The committee's most recent meeting, Friday, July 20th, featured an informational presentation by Missoula County Attorney Fred VanValkenburg. The report indicated that in its first six months, the initiative may have produced a sharp reduction in the frequency of adult marijuana prosecutions by the county, reported John Masterson, chairman of the oversight committee.
"This was the first of a series of reports and answers to our questions that we'll be receiving," Masterson said. "We can't be sure, because we haven't yet received information from the sheriff's end of the law enforcement process, but it sure seems to me that the initiative has made exactly the kind of change that voters intended," he said.
In the eight months since passage of Initiative 2, the county has initiated only one prosecution of an adult marijuana misdemeanor, and "that was a mistake that the county attorney said he would soon correct," Masterson reported.
In addition, while the county attorney has received 4 new felony marijuana cases since November 2006, only 3 are being prosecuted.
In contrast, during the year before voters adopted the lowest priority policy, more than 250 marijuana arrests occurred in the city and county of Missoula.
Appointed by the county commissioners in February, the initiative oversight committee has held 6 public meetings (not counting subcommittee meetings), and has met all the initiative-prescribed deadlines for implementation:
- The committee's grievance form is now available online, accessible to any adult who feels wronged by county officials concerning marijuana.
- The committee's reporting forms, detailing the information needed from the sheriff and county attorney to fulfill its duties, have been finalized.
- In June, the Missoula County Clerk sent official letters to President Bush, Governor Schweitzer, the state's congressional delegation, and state representatives and senators, as required annually by Initiative 2. The letter informs them of Missoula County's voter-adopted lowest-priority policy for adult marijuana offenses, and invites them to consider adopting the same policy on a statewide and national level.
The committee will receive its first summary report from the County Sheriff within the next several weeks, Masterson said. The next public meeting of the initiative oversight committee is scheduled at 10 a.m., Friday, September 14th, at the Missoula Public Library, conference room, 301 E. Main.
June 11, 2007: County Sends I-2 Notification to State, Federal Officials
As per initiative requirements
, Missoula County
informed nearly two dozen state and federal officials of the will of Missoula County voters as
expressed in the initiative. Download the letter here
June 8, 2007: Oversight Committee Releases Initial Grievance Packet
The I-2 Community Oversight Committee, charged with collecting grievances
from individuals who believe they have been treated in a way contrary to the spirit
of the initiative, has released their preliminary
. Individuals wishing to file
a grievance with the Committee should download, print, and follow the instructions in
June 3, 2007: Oversight Committee Requests County Data
The Initiative #2 Community Oversight Committee recently submitted the following
requests to County officials:
March 22, 2007: County Amends Marijuana Initiative
In the news:
March 9, 2007: Marijuana Initiative Committee Resolution
2007-Mar-09 - Missoula - The Community Oversight Committee overseeing implementation of Missoula County Initiative I-2, known as the "marijuana initiative", voted 6 to 2 with one abstention on Friday to endorse a resolution encouraging the County Commissioners to delay any proposed amendment to the Initiative for at least two years, "to allow the Committee to fulfill their oversight responsibilities pursuant to the Initiative and the will of the people of Missoula County."
A RESOLUTION OF THE COMMUNITY OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ENCOURAGING THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TO DELAY ANY AMENDMENT TO THE INITIATIVE FOR AN EVALUATION PERIOD OF NOT LESS THAN TWO YEARS.
WHEREAS, Missoula County voters endorsed Missoula County Initiative No. MSLA2006-02 ("the Initiative") by a vote of over 54% in November 2006; and
WHEREAS, the Initiative requires the establishment of a Community Oversight Committee ("the Committee") which is responsible for monitoring Missoula County law enforcement and prosecutorial activities relating to adult marijuana offenses and evaluating the Initiativeâ€™s implementation; and
WHEREAS, the Initiative states that "enforcement of laws related to adult marijuana offenses"? should be the countyâ€™s lowest law enforcement priority; and
WHEREAS, the information provided to voters by Missoula County on November 2006 ballots stated that the Initiative would apply to all adult marijuana activities, "including those laws related to possession, processing and sale of marijuana"; and
WHEREAS, the Missoula County Attorney has reportedly urged the Board of Missoula County Commissioners to amend the Initiative to exclude felony offenses; and
WHEREAS, felony marijuana offenses include activities that involve very small amounts of marijuana such as cultivation for personal adult or medical use and the transfer of personal amounts of marijuana between consenting adults; and
WHEREAS, the Initiative recommends that adult marijuana activities should be Missoula County's lowest law enforcement priority, but grants full discretion for its actual implementation to county officials;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COMMITTEE THAT:
The Board of the Missoula County Commissioners should not amend the Initiative during an evaluation period of not less than two years from the date of the Initiative's passage to allow the Committee to fulfill their oversight responsibilities pursuant to the Initiative and the will of the people of Missoula County.