Now that Washington State voters have passed Initiative 502 to legalize marijuana, Sergeant Sean Whitcomb, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department, says this: "For us, the law has changed, and people can expect no enforcement for possession." The law takes effect on December 6.
What this means is that in one month, adults 21 and older can legally possess up to one ounce of bud, 16 ounces of solid-form marijuana food products, and 72 ounces of cannabis in liquid form (such as lotions or, like, a shocking volume of hash oil). You can also have pot paraphernalia
This portion of the law, says Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, who is both a prosecutor and a co-sponsor of the initiative, "is simply not preemptable." In other words, Holmes is saying that feds may challenge the licensing and the storesóbut not the possession portion. Furthermore, "The feds cannot make the state criminalize that kind of conduct," he says.
So here's what it means for you: You can have that pot on you legally. You can have it in your home legally. There is no probable cause to arrest someone for possessing marijuana. Provided that you're not using it in public (just like you can't drink in public, which is a dumb rule, but it's parity), it's legal. Using it in public becomes an infraction, just like drinking whiskey on the sidewalk. You also can't drive high. These parts of the law can't be challenged by the feds, Holmes insists. Even though possession technically remains a federal crime, the feds as practical matter don't arrest or prosecute people for small-time possession, unless people do it on federal property. It basically doesn't happen.
Washington state now has a year to come up with laws for licensing growers, stores, etc...before that time, I fully expect the DOJ to come after Washington and Colorado, but right now this sure feels good..