INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Marion County prosecutors have begun dismissing marijuana-related criminal cases.
The dismissals come in the wake of an announcement by the prosecutor's office on Monday, September 30, that stated Marion County will no longer prosecute simple possession of marijuana cases, effective immediately.
Prosecutors have confirmed to FOX59 that more than 145 marijuana cases pending at the time of Monday's announcement have been dismissed.
During the Monday announcement, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said cases involving less than an ounce of marijuana won't be prosecuted, and that the move had been discussed internally for the last couple of years.
"We have discussed this issue with different law enforcement partners ... we think this is going to have a number of benefits to the community," said Mears.
After the announcement, Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal said he supports the initiative.
Forestal told FOX59 that people picked up for less than an ounce of marijuana already do not stay in jail for long, and they are often out on bond before going to court.
The sheriff also said it is costly to house inmates, and taxpayers ultimately pay the price.
Following the move by the prosecutor's office, Mayor Joe Hogsett said, "I want to be supportive of anything our community needs to do to make our criminal justice process equitable and fair."
Now that cases will not be prosecuted, lawyers like Mark Nicholson are advertising for expungement services.
"Obviously the argument for Marion County cases is they’re not even prosecuting the cases, so why even have the conviction on your record,” Nicholson said. "The charge itself of marijuana possession, that is a charge that can be expunged.”
If you have a pending marijuana case or previous conviction and want more information about the new policy, contact the Marion County Prosecutor's Office at 317-327-3522.