Seattle Sets $27 Penalty For Public Pot Consumption; Warnings Likely


Seattle police officers soon will have authority to write $27 tickets for consuming pot in public, similar to the sanctions for publicly drinking alcohol, reports the Seattle Times. Don't expect an avalanche of tickets. The law approved yesterday by the City Council calls for police to give warnings “whenever possible” before issuing fines. “Everyone's probably going to get several free passes,” said police spokesman Sean Whitcomb. “We want to be generous.”

Under the new law it's likely that officers would fine only chronic offenders who ignore warnings. Leniency about pot smoking is already part of the Police Department's DNA after voters approved Initiative 75 in 2003 making pot-possession laws the city's lowest law-enforcement priority. Whitcomb predicted that enforcement would be similar to what occurs for public drinking at tailgating parties before Seahawks games, which is focused on egregious violations.

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