Legalization of Marijuana in Washington

"I'm not sure where you're supposed to get it. If you stumble across some on the street or it falls from the sky, then you can have it. Otherwise, you are part of a criminal chain of distribution." This is a quote from King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg commenting on Washington State's new law legalizing marijuana.

On Thursday, December 06, 2012, Washington became the first state to legalize the use of marijuana for recreation. Many people took to the streets at the stroke of midnight to light up. This is in line with the growing number of people who have found support for the legalization of marijuana. Studies show that approximately 58% of Americans support its legalization. Dan Satterberg's quote is based on the fact that Washington citizens may be able to possess and smoke up to an ounce of marijuana, but vendors and sellers can't legally grow or sell marijuana for another year.

One thing we all need to remember is that possession and selling of marijuana remains a federal offense alongside heroin as a Schedule 1 illegal drug. In turn, smoking in any federal building remains illegal. Fortunately for those in Washington we have no need to go to federal buildings often.

Since Initiative 75 was passed in 2003, minor marijuana possession has been the lowest enforcement priority for Seattle area officers. Now there is no more grey area. So even though the feds still enforce its illegality, when in Seattle, feel free to light up because SPD officers will follow state law and will no longer make arrests for marijuana possession (as long as - if you're asked - you remember to say the marijuana fell from the sky!).