Pima County attorney won’t prosecute drug possession cases

December 15, 2021 GMT

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — With COVID-19 cases surging again, Pima County Attorney Laura Conover says she won’t be prosecuting people for simple drug possession because of pandemic-related risks.

However, Conover said Tuesday that the policy will be in effect for at least 60 days before it’s reviewed again and suspects facing felony charges in addition to minor drug charges will still face charges.

Conover said she made the move to “protect both Pima County jail employees and people who are detained against the surging threat of COVID.”

The policy also covers anyone arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia or related personal-use incidents.

“A sizeable percentage of (society) has expressed disinterest in the vaccine, depriving us of the herd immunity that would have put this virus behind us,” Conover wrote in a memorandum to law enforcement officials. “COVID is now spreading inside the jail, putting people there at risk. The health and safety of our community are paramount.”

Conover’s move is meant to prevent transporting suspects facing minor drug charges to Pima County Jail.

It comes after county officials said they would fire hundreds of corrections officers who refuse to be vaccinated.