Seattle's Police Department Releases Humorous Guide on How to Get Stoned, After Initiative to Legalize Pot Passes

Last week, the Seattle Police Department quietly released the hillarious how-to, Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle. Witty and silly, it covers all the bases, from driving stoned to drug tests for jobs and whether police themselves can get high. It begins:

The people have spoken. Voters have passed Initiative 502 and beginning December 6th, it is not a violation of state law for adults over 21 years old to possess 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.  The initiative establishes a one-year period for the state to develop rules and a licensing system for the marijuana production and sale.

Marijuana has existed in a grey area in Seattle for some time now. Despite a longstanding national prohibition on marijuana, minor marijuana possession has been the lowest enforcement priority for the Seattle Police Department since Seattle voters passed Initiative 75 in 2003. Officers don’t like grey areas in the law. I-502 now gives them more clarity.

Now, here's a sample of their quirky Q&A:

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.

December 6th seems like a really long ways away. What happens if I get caught with marijuana before then?  

Hold your breath. Your case will be processed under current state law. However, there is already a city ordinance making marijuana enforcement the lowest law enforcement priority.

According to the guide, residents can legally carry up to an ounce of weed, but cannot yet sell or grow it themselves.  Beause the regulations for controlled sale have not yet been established, distribution and production remain illegal.  What's more, smoking outdoors is banned and employers can still make hiring decisions based on drug tests for marijuana.  There are still some of the grey areas the SPD "does not like"; however, the guide makes it clear the police department is behind the people.  Marijwhatnow closes with a clip from Lord of the Rings, in which Gandalf and Bilbo smoke a pipe before Bilbo says "Gandalf, my friend, this will be a night to remember.”

So, who wrote this hillarious press release? According to blogger Jim Romenesko, the guide is the work of former reporter Jonah Spangenthal-Lee:

Who is Spangenthal-Lee? He joined the police department in March after working as a crime reporter at The Stranger alt-weekly and PubliCola, and launching A Stranger editor says Spangenthal-Lee “has the chops of a hard-boiled 1940s reporter with one of those over-sized ‘Press’ cards leaning crookedly in his fedora [but] is actually an amiable, young hip-hop dude.”

Read more about him here

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