Marijwhatnow? Seattle Police Post Guide to Legal Pot Use

By Andrew Lu on November 26, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Who would have thought that the police would one day post a guide on "legal" pot use. But that's what the Seattle Police Department has done in an online guide that's gone viral, entitled "Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle."

The guide looks ahead to Dec. 6, when Washington's voter-approved Initiative 502 will take effect, making recreational marijuana use legal for adults over the age of 21.

With decriminalization on the horizon, here's a summary of some key points from "Marijwhatnow?":

  • Adults over the age of 21 can carry around an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Keep in mind that this is for personal and private use. You could still be busted for opening a baggie of marijuana in public.
  • Currently, production and distribution of recreational marijuana remains illegal. The Washington State Liquor Control Board must first establish guidelines for the sale and distribution of pot.
  • I-502 has no effect on medical marijuana laws.
  • You can't grow marijuana in your home or sell it to others. However, in the future, state law may allow you to get a license to grow or sell marijuana.
  • You can't smoke pot outside your home, just as you can't carry an open container of alcohol in public.
  • You can still be pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana.
  • If you get caught with marijuana before the law officially becomes effective on Dec. 6th, you could still be prosecuted. However, in some Washington counties, you likely won't be.
  • If you're under 21 years of age and smoke recreational marijuana, then you've broken the law. I-502 does not legalize marijuana use for those under 21.
  • And in case any dazed or confused Seattle cops were wondering, police officers still can't smoke marijuana. This has more to do with an employer's policy than what the law allows.

While these official police reminders reflect Washington's new state law, remember that marijuana -- medical and recreational -- remains illegal under federal law. How that conundrum will be addressed is still up in the air.

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