The people have spoken. Voters have passed Initiative 502 and beginning December 6th, state law no longer prohibits production and sale of marijuana. Under state law adults over 21 years old may possess up to an ounce of marijuana (or 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product, like cookies, or 72 ounces of infused liquid, like oil) for personal use.
Marijuana has existed in a grey area in Seattle for some time now. Despite a longstanding national prohibition on marijuana, minor marijuana possession has been the lowest enforcement priority for the Seattle Police Department since Seattle voters passed Initiative 75 in 2003. Officers don’t like grey areas in the law. I-502 now gives them more clarity.
Can I smoke pot outside my home? Like at a park, magic show, or the Bite of Seattle?
Much like having an open container of alcohol in public, doing so could result in a civil infraction—like a ticket—but not arrest. You can certainly use marijuana in the privacy of your own home. Additionally, if smoking a cigarette isn’t allowed where you are (say, inside an apartment building or flammable chemical factory), smoking marijuana isn’t allowed there either.
Will police officers be able to smoke marijuana?
As of right now, no. This is still a very complicated issue.
What happens if I get pulled over and I’m sober, but an officer or his K9 buddy smells the ounce of Super Skunk I’ve got in my trunk?
Under state law, officers have to develop probable cause to search a closed or locked container. Each case stands on its own, but the smell of pot alone will not be reason to search a vehicle. If officers have information that you’re trafficking, producing or delivering marijuana in violation of state law, they can get a warrant to search your vehicle.
SPD seized a bunch of my marijuana before I-502 passed. Can I have it back?
December 6th seems like a really long ways away. What happens if I get caught with marijuana before then? Hold your breath. Your case will be processed under current state statute. However, there is already a city statute making marijuana enforcement the lowest law enforcement priority.
I’m under 21. What happens if I get caught smoking pot?
It’s a violation of state law. It’ll be referred to prosecutors, just like if you were a minor in possession of alcohol. But, again, marijuana enforcement is still the lowest law enforcement priority in Seattle. This is all still under review and we’re still awaiting advisement from the state attorney general.
While the Seattle PD may want to spend more time arresting smartphone thieves than writing weed jokes, they deserve credit for tackling the questions that really matter to the common high person. What if I happen to get caught with the weed I may or may not already be smoking all the time? What if I’m 15 and my cleaning lady wasn’t bullshitting when she said she would call the cops? Can I get back that O that you took from me last summer during the Bring Back Our Sonics rally?
So nice work, police of the pacific northwest, for keeping it 100 and not just writing a bunch of bullshit about school zones and responsible use and other nonsense nobody’s trying to see. It’s best to keep it light. Besides, you don’t need people finding out you smoked all that evidence Sour Diesel.