Washington Legalization Effects Already Felt as Police Ignore Marijuana

Washington Legalization Effects Already Felt as Police Ignore Marijuana

Seattle Police: "Expect No Enforcement for Possession"

SEATTLE, WA – Although Washington state’s successful marijuana legalization measure I-502 will not take effect until December 6, police in Seattle are already treating cannabis as legal.

“For us, the law has changed,” Seattle police spokesperson Sergeant Sean Whitcomb said Wednesday. “What you can expect is no enforcement on possession — that is a reasonable expectation.”

Meanwhile, local prosecutors are saying they will not charge marijuana possession cases beginning December 6, when possession of marijuana by adults becomes legal. Prosecutors are still deciding what to do about pending cases from now until then.

“We haven’t figured out how we will handle all of those cases,” said Ian Goodhew of the King County Attorney’s office.

Under I-502, on December 6,  an ounce of marijuana, a pound of cannabis infused edibles, or 72 ounces of liquid tinctures or cannabis oils, will be legal to possess.  The Washington State Liquor Control Board will then begin the process to create guidelines and regulations for the potential commercial sale of marijuana, a process that could take up to one year.

Until those Liquor Control Boards regulations and guidelines are implemented, the sale of marijuana and related products remains illegal, except for those businesses protected by Washington’s medical marijuana laws.

Consuming cannabis openly in public becomes a civil infraction, similar to existing open alcohol violations.