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It’s now LEGAL

As bad as things are getting in some ways, did you ever think you’d see cops deliberately turning a blind eye to this?

As of midnight last night, smoking cannabis is legal in Washington state for anybody over 21. It’s not legal to smoke in public, but police ignored revelers toking beneath the Space Needle last night. Partly because nobody yet knows what the penalty’s supposed to be. Partly … well, just because.

In fact the official line from the Seattle PD is:

Does this mean you should flagrantly roll up a mega-spliff and light up in the middle of the street? No. If you’re smoking pot in public, officers will be giving helpful reminders to folks about the rules and regulations under I-502 (like not smoking pot in public). But the police department believes that, under state law, you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a Lord of the Rings marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to.

And that comes complete with this “official” government photo and warning:

Sure, anybody who wanted it could always get the stuff, legal or not. But isn’t this an improvement over the usual cops-vs-us?


  1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit December 6, 2012 12:26 pm

    Bearing in mind that the Fat Federal DEA Lady hasn’t sung yet. The federales’ position, last I’d heard, was that they were going to continue federal arrests and prosecution.

    I hadn’t looked – do you know if I-502 prohibits local law enforcement cooperation with the federal dotgov for marijuana investigations and arrests?

  2. Claire
    Claire December 6, 2012 12:40 pm

    Dunno, Hobbit. I haven’t seen, and can’t find, anything about that. I can’t imagine the feds putting too much effort into the small-time possessing and using that’s now legal. But things could definitely get interesting a year from now when marijuana stores start opening.

    There are lots of questions, still.

    One thing I wonder about: since the state will now regulate (and of course tax) cannabis growing, what’s going to happen to medical marijuana patients who, under the older law, could grow their own? There’s also a lot of fear about the DUI provisions of the new law, especially given how long traces of cannabis can stay in one’s system.

    I still think it’s hysterical that I-502 got all kinds of support from the “establishment” (including prosecutors and health officials) and the only organized opposition came from the medical marijuana community.

  3. just waiting
    just waiting December 6, 2012 1:00 pm

    On a side note, New Jersey’s first Medical Marijuana clinic opened its doors this morning, after a 35 month delay. Yup, that’s 2 years and 11 months to figure out to get medicine to patients. Most of the patients who were early advocates for this have long since passed.

    While inexcusable, the delay isn’t the worst part. NJ Legislators, knowing better than the medical community, have decided that 10% thc is the maximum strength and there are only 3 strains that can be sold. Baby aspirin for a migraine anyone?

    How’s the weather out there in Washington State?

  4. Scott
    Scott December 6, 2012 1:12 pm

    I wonder if the police there consider small-scale pot arrests an annoyance, and are glad to have one thing off their plate? My guess is the feds will stay out of this picture-it’s probably too much trouble, since they would likely get limited cooperation from the state, and a lot of bad publicity. My guess and 75 cents gets you a can of Dr.Pepper from the machine in front of WalMart.

  5. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit December 6, 2012 2:12 pm

    Depends – the federal gooberment might also decide to squash this particular bit of history while it’s still small. Claire could be right – wait until there are “established stores”* around and then stage some massive raids, scooping up whole “networks” of “evil drug dealers.” Not sure how many small business owners would want to pay an attorney to stay out of federal prison.

    Or even just stage a propaganda campaign, pointing out that they COULD do that. I’m not sure we’d see Claire’s Cannabis Cafe opening any time soon, especially if they started making examples. A couple of pounds of stock-on-hand and you’re into felony federal charges.

    Oregon has it decriminalized – it’s only effectively a traffic ticket – but I’d be happy to have it out of the local legal system entirely as well.

    *there’s an old abandoned post office just across the river – some of us are thinking of renting it and opening a local smoke shop to serve NE Oregon.

  6. Bear
    Bear December 6, 2012 6:52 pm

    OTOH, they’re looking at this again:

    Note the “poll” on that page. Is it just me, or does an option seem to missing from the choices?

    Funny, when I lived in Europe, you just had to report your mileage every year and pay the road tax when renewing registration. But I suppose that isn’t as cool, insanely expensive, and ever-so-convenient for the cops as GPS tracking devices prepositioned in every vehicle. Remember in the Dark Ages when the authoritahs needed a warrant to bug you?

  7. Hanza
    Hanza December 6, 2012 9:07 pm

    The Feds still prohibit marijuana users from buying or owning firearms. Doesn’t matter what state laws say.

    So if you have a medical marijuana card: Prohibited.

    If your name is on a buyers list that the Feds get ahold of: Prohibited.

    The names are entered into the data base that FFLs have to access to determine if it is legal for you to buy or not.

  8. winston lite
    winston lite December 7, 2012 12:26 am

    Explains the sudden interest in artsy finnish cinema, haha

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