WA Teens Face 5 Years After Misdemeanor Pot Law Turns Felony

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It may now be legal to smoke medical marijuana as an adult in Washington State, but a sneaky new law has made it a serious felony charge for youths caught with the green stuff.

The offense for persons under 21 was previously a slap on the wrist misdemeanor with a maximum 90-day jail sentence, but now under the new law, youths can get up to five years in prison, while forever being branded a felon.

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A prosecutor in southeastern Washington has charged three teens with felonies for marijuana possession, saying a new law demands the higher level of offense. The Lewiston Tribune in Idaho reports the teens ages 14, 15 and 17 have been charged in nearby Asotin County with felonies that could net them up to five years in prison. Asotin County Prosecutor Ben Nichols said Senate Bill 5052, which the Legislature passed and Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law this year, contains the new language. “If you are a minor, a person under 21, it’s a felony no matter what,” Nichols said. h/t komonews

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, said the tougher penalty was designed to deter minors from trying an adult drug.

“We have to send a message to our kids: This will hurt you in more ways than one if you decide to participate,” Rivers said.

Do you think this new law is fair? Sound off below!

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