Monday, November 19, 2012

Seattle Police Department Produces Guide to New Marijuana Law

By Join Together Staff | November 16, 2012 | Leave a comment | Filed inCommunity Related, Drugs & Legislation

In response to the newly approved recreational marijuana law approved by Washington state voters last week, the Seattle Police Department has produced a flippant guide that explains the new law, according to NBC News.

On November 6, voters in Washington and Colorado approved measures to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use, becoming the first U.S. states to do so. The measures allow personal possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for anyone at least 21 years old. They also permit marijuana to be sold and taxed at state-licensed stores.

The Seattle guide takes a lighthearted approach to answering questions about how the Washington law will be applied. “We deliberately designed (the guide) in a way that people would enjoy it,” Seattle Police Department (SPD) spokesman Sergeant Sean Whitcomb told NBC News.

One example from the guide:

Q: 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?

A: 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.

The guide notes that while the new law, known as I-502, has decriminalized marijuana possession in Washington, it does not change federal law, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic. “All Seattle Police officers have taken an oath to uphold not only state law, but federal law as well. However, SPD officers will follow state law, and will no longer make arrests for marijuana possession as defined under I-502,” the guide states.

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