The Seattle Police Department told its 1300+ officers via email Wednesday that “Until further notice, officers shall not take any enforcement action—other than to issue a verbal warning—for a violation of I-502.”
Wednesday at midnight, Initiative 502 goes into effect - it’s no longer a violation of state law to use and possess certain quantities of marijuana in Washington.
The full notice, sent to officers on Wednesday evening:
Until further notice, officers shall not take any enforcement action—other than to issue a verbal warning—for a violation of I-502.
On November 6, 2012, Washington State voters approved Initiative 502 (I-502), decriminalizing the possession of marijuana in certain cases. This initiative is effective December 6th, 2012.
I-502 includes the following provisions:
• Sec. 20 (3): “The possession, by a person twenty-one years of age or older, of useable marijuana or marijuana-infused products in amounts that do not exceed those set forth in section 15(3) of this act is not a violation of this section, this chapter, or any other provision of Washington state law.”
o Sec.15 (3) lists the amounts that a person twenty-one years of age or older may possess:
Ø One ounce of usable marijuana
Ø Sixteen ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form
Ø Seventy-two ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form
• Sec. 21: “It is unlawful to open a package containing marijuana, useable marijuana, or a marijuana-infused product, or consume marijuana, useable marijuana, or a marijuana-infused product, in view of the general public. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 3 civil infraction under chapter 7.80 RCW.”
• Sec. 22 makes the use, delivery, and the possession or manufacture with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia illegal only for controlled substances other than marijuana.
As of today, there is no actual section in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) or Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) that reflects the provisions of I-502; however the provisions of the initiative are expected to be codified in the RCW sometime in January. It is also possible that the Seattle City Council might enact sections of Seattle Municipal Code that mirror the RCW. If an SMC is adopted, a 30 day period must pass before it takes effect.
Officers are reminded that the medical marijuana laws remain unchanged, and that per SMC 12A.20.060, enforcement of marijuana offenses where it was intended for adult personal use remains the City’s lowest law enforcement priority.
Please direct any questions to the Narcotics Section at 684-5797 or Assistant Chief Pugel at 684-5485.