SEATTLE (AP) - Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has admitted he broke a drug-free-workplace rule when he bought marijuana on the first day of legal sales in Washington state.
Holmes has been a big supporter of the legal marijuana law, and he says he wanted to be one of the first customers at Seattle's Cannabis City on Tuesday to honor what he called a "tectonic shift" in policy. He says he then brought the two unopened packages back to City Hall before taking them home.
The next day, the city's personnel department issued a memo reminding employees they can't have marijuana when they're on official business or at city offices.
Holmes issued an apology Friday and said he volunteered to donate $3,000 to the Downtown Emergency Service Center, an organization that provides housing for alcoholic, mentally ill or otherwise vulnerable people.
Statement for City Attorney Holmes:
The City of Seattle is a “drug-free workplace” under federal law, and our personnel rules reflect these sound workplace policies. Not only are controlled substances (like marijuana) banned from city offices, City employees cannot possess them while on City business.
So what is the rule when “City business” includes successful drug policy reform – specifically, transition from prohibition to a fully legal, regulated and taxed marijuana supply system? I was elected to drive such reform, and to eradicate the illegal marijuana market. I intended my public purchase at Seattle’s first legal store to bolster the transition.
The workplace rule has not changed, however. When I brought the unopened marijuana to City offices – trying to keep up with a busy schedule -- I nonetheless violated the City’s rules. At the end of the business day, I took the marijuana home and left it there, still unopened, before I participated in the second Community Walk of the Mayor’s Summer of Safety.
I have discussed the violation with the City Personnel Department director, and I have volunteered to donate $3,000 to the Downtown Emergency Service Center. I apologize to my employees, all City employees and to the public.