In a sign of how far and how fast mainstream attitudes about pot have shifted in Washington state, Jim Pugel, Seattle interim police chief drew cheers when he addressed the annual Cannabis Freedom March, reports the Seattle Times. “We are not here to condemn it. We are not here to endorse it,” he said of marijuana use. “The police are here to make sure it is all done legally.”
After he left the stage, Pugel laughed when asked if he could have imagined addressing such a gathering early in his career. “Hell, no,” he said. Working undercover, Pugel used to bust people for buying pot. Washington residents changed all that last November, when they voted to legalize the sale and possession of marijuana for recreational use by adults. Just feet from where Pugel stood, dozens of people were lighting up and munching on cannabis-infused snacks inside a 40-foot-long “smoking tent.” Pugel thanked the crowd for mostly keeping their weed out of sight. “Please respect your police officers and don't use it in front of them,” he said.