In less than a month, on December 6th 2013, it will be legal in Washington State for an individual to possess and smoke marijuana. Any individual age 21 or older may legally carry 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. And with these news laws coming into effect soon, it is important to know how Seattle police along with other city police officers will enforce these laws.
The Seattle Police Department has a blog article, “Marijawhatnow? A Guide To Marijuana Use” describes the police departments understanding of initiative I-502 and the measures that will be taken by law enforcement to uphold these laws. The article was written in question and answer form which makes it easy to understand in everyday applications.
Here are some of the key highlights you should know to avoid being arrested by police:
Can I legally carry around an ounce of marijuana?
According to the recently passed initiative, beginning December 6th, adults over the age of 21 will be able to carry up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Please note that the initiative says it “is unlawful 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 federal property).
Can I grow marijuana in my home and sell it to my friends, family, and co-workers?
Not right now. In the future, under state law, you may be able to get a license to grow or sell marijuana.
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.
What happens if I get pulled over and an officer thinks I’ve been smoking pot?
If an officer believes you’re DUI (driving under the influence) of anything, they will conduct a field sobriety test and may consult with a drug recognition expert. If officers establish probable cause, they will bring you to a precinct and ask your permission to draw your blood for testing. If officers have reason to believe you’re under the influence of something, they can get a warrant for a blood draw from 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 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?
Will SPD assist federal law enforcement in investigations of marijuana users or marijuana-related businesses, that are allowed under I-502?
No. Officers and detectives will not participate in an investigation of anything that’s not prohibited by state law.
I’m under 21. What happens if I get caught smoking pot?
It’s a violation of state law. It may be referred to prosecutors, just like if you were a minor in possession of alcohol.
If you have any further questions pertaining to the new marijuana laws or have been recently arrested for possession of marijuana or DUI of marijuana contact our criminal defense attorneys at David O Defense 206-459-6392 today.
The above Q&A’s were derived from the article “Marijawhatnow? A Guide To Marijuana Use” was written by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, and can be found on spdblotter.seattle.gov.