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Linn County Front Page News

Posted on: December 28, 2020

Linn County Attorney’s Office Announces Marijuana Diversion Program

MARIJUANA DIVERSION PROGRAM

The Linn County Attorney’s Office announces a newly established marijuana diversion program that will take effect Jan. 1, 2021.

The program is designed for first time offenders found in possession of a user-quantity amount of marijuana. Linn County prosecutors will weigh multiple factors when considering whether to recommend a defendant to participate in the program. Participants must complete a treatment and community service component as well as other diversion program requirements. Upon successful completion of the program, the case will be dismissed and the Linn County Attorney’s Office will recommend expungement of the arrest and charge from the participant’s record.

The Linn County Attorney’s Office recognizes that a conviction for a marijuana offense may have serious and lasting consequences for those charged and convicted with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana). Likewise, the Linn County Attorney’s Office also recognizes the potential dangers presented by the abuse of marijuana. The marijuana diversion program was created to address and balance these concerns.

The program has multiple goals:

  • Mitigate the disproportionate negative consequences a conviction may have on first-time offenders’ ability to obtain housing and employment, access higher education, and on the short and long-term financial security of defendants convicted of Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana) while still providing for a fair measure of accountability. 
  • Reduce recidivism of first time offenders found in possession of user-quantity amounts of marijuana.  
  • Rehabilitate defendants by treating and addressing underlying issues surrounding substance abuse.  
  • Promote the judicious use of court and prosecutorial resources. 
  • Be responsive to the evolving concerns of the community while still fulfilling the legal obligation to enforce state law.

The Linn County Attorney’s office will conduct a complete review of the effectiveness of the program at the end of 2021. If the review shows meaningful progress towards the stated goals of the program, the Linn County Attorney’s Office will continue and may modify and/or expand the scope of the diversion program. 

The complete legal memo by the Linn County Attorney’s Office, which outlines the rationale and goals of the program, eligibility guidelines, and requirements for successful completion, is available on the Linn County website at www.LinnCounty.org/Attorney

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