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Seattle PD blog about prop 502

Seattle PD blog about prop 502

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Published by Scott Lippert
Seattle PD describes how they will enforce prop 502 (Marijuana legalization)
Seattle PD describes how they will enforce prop 502 (Marijuana legalization)

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Published by: Scott Lippert on Nov 09, 2012
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Staff Directory
You are here:Home»Community Outreach» Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle
Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use InSeattle
 Jonah Spangenthal-Lee 
November 9, 2012
The people have spoken. Voters have passed Initiative 502 and beginning December 6
, adultsover 21 years old can possess up to an ounce of marijuana (or 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infusedproduct, 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 nationalprohibition 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 likegrey areas in the law. I-502 now gives them more clarity.Marijuana legalization creates some challenges for the Seattle Police Department, but SPD isalready working to respond to these issues head on, by doing things like reviewing SPD’s hiringpractices for police officers to address now-legal marijuana usage by prospective officers, as well ascurrent employees.While I-502 has decriminalized marijuana possession in Washington, the new state law is in directconflict with federal law, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic. All Seattle Policeofficers have taken an oath to uphold not only state law, but federal law as well. However, SPDofficers will follow state law, and will no longer make arrests for marijuana possession as definedunder I-502.The Seattle Police Department and Mayor Mike McGinn have already begun working with stateofficials to navigate this conflict, and follow the direction of Washington voters to legalize marijuana.In the meantime, the Seattle Police Department will continue to enforce unlicensed sale or production of marijuana, and regulations against driving under the influence of marijuana, whichremain illegal.
Here’s a practical guide for what the Seattle Police Department believes I-502 means for you,beginning December 6
, based on the department’s current understanding of the initiative Pleasekeep in mind that this is all subject to review and revision by the state attorney general, and KingCounty Prosecutor’s office:
Can I legally carry around an ounce of marijuana? 
 According to the recently passed initiative, beginning December 6
, adults over the age of 21 will be
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able to carry up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Please note that the initiative says it “isunlawful to open a package containing marijuana
in view of the general public,” so there’s that. Also, you probably shouldn’t bring pot with you to the federal courthouse (or any other federalproperty).
Well, where can I legally buy pot, then?
The Washington State Liquor Control Board is working to establish guidelines for the sale anddistribution of marijuana. The WSLCB has until December 1, 2013 to finalize those rules.
Can I grow marijuana in my home and sell it to my friends, family, and co-workers?
 As long as you’re a licensed grower and seller, yes. If you’re a medical marijuana patient, the ruleson growing haven’t changed.
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 civilinfraction—like a ticket—but not arrest. You can certainly use marijuana in the privacy of your ownhome. Additionally, if smoking a cigarette isn’t allowed where you are (say, inside an apartmentbuilding 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.
If I apply for a job at the Seattle Police Department, will past (or current) marijuana use beheld against me?
The current standard for applicants is that they have not used marijuana in theprevious three years. In light of I-502, the department is consulting with the city’s employment lawdivision and the state attorney general to see if and how that standard may be revised.
What happens if I get pulled over and an officer thinks I’ve been smoking pot?
If an officer believes you’re driving under the influence of anything, they will conduct a field sobrietytest and may consult with a drug recognition expert. If officers establish probable cause, they willbring you to a precinct and ask your permission to draw your blood for testing. If officers havereason to believe you’re under the influence of something, they can get a warrant for a blood drawfrom a judge. If you’re in a serious accident, then a blood draw will be mandatory.
What happens if I get pulled over and I’m sober, but an officer or his K9 buddy smells theounce 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 statelaw, 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?
Will SPD assist federal law enforcement in investigations of marijuana users or marijuana-related businesses, which are legal, at the state level, under I-502?
No. Officers and detectives will not participate in an investigation of anything that’s allowed by statelaw.
December 6
seems like a really long ways away. What happens if I get caught withmarijuana 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 enforcementpriority.
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 possessionof alcohol. But, again, marijuana enforcement is still the lowest law enforcement priority in Seattle.
StaticOngoing Investigation Into Excessive Force,Unprofessionalism
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