SPD's Lebowski mug.jpg
The Dude: A big fan of the Blotter blog.
The Seattle Police Department is really rocking this I-502 marijuana legalization thing for all its worth.


SPD Goes Big Lebowski in Latest (Rad) Pot Statement

SPD's Lebowski mug.jpg
The Dude: A big fan of the Blotter blog.
The Seattle Police Department is really rocking this I-502 marijuana legalization thing for all its worth. In what feels like the PR equivalent of sharing a bowl with the public, the agency - via hired-pen Jonah Spangenthal-Lee - has now released two truly epic statements (each featuring at least one Lord of the Rings reference) on the state of marijuana enforcement in Seattle. You probably saw the first on the Rachel Maddow show, or just about anywhere else you looked.

*See Also: SPD's Comprehensive Guide to Smoking Hella Weed in Seattle

Spangenthal-Lee's latest gem - featuring a photo Jeff 'The Dude' Lebowski - hit the SPD Blotter blog at around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night, less than six hours before possession of up to an ounce of processed pot was set to become legal under Washington state law for adults 21 and older.

It's fantastic -- the new marijuana law, and SPD's latest marijuana-related statement. And the latter is the kind of once unimaginable, frank pot talk from law enforcement that would seem to ensure the media attention and Maddow fist-bumps are going to keep coming for Seattle's police force. Turns out it's thrilling and fascinating and disorienting and awesome to watch the cops on the front lines of marijuana legalization act totally rad about it. And from a public relations standpoint, that's what SPD has managed to accomplish through its blog and Spangenthal-Lee's weed jokes.

"Tonight at midnight, Initiative 502 goes into effect, meaning it's no longer a violation of state law to use and possess certain quantities of marijuana in Washington. Basically, you can have pot and use pot, but you're only supposed to use it in the privacy of your own home," the statement opens.

It continues:

And this is what the Seattle Police Department is telling its 1300+ officers tonight via email about public marijuana use (full email posted below):

"Until further notice, officers shall not take any enforcement action--other than to issue a verbal warning--for a violation of I-502."

Above is the message everyone came to see. Honestly, it would have been enough. SPD could have stopped there and got plenty of props for its reaction to Washington's new stance on weed.

But Spangenthal-Lee wasn't done. Far from it ...

So why won't SPD be citing people for openly using marijuana in public? Here's where things get a bit complicated for your friendly neighborhood police department: the Seattle Police Department is in the business of law enforcement and, as of today, the Revised Code of Washington or Seattle Municipal Code don't contain anything that gives officers clear direction on how to deal with the provisions of I-502 prohibiting public use of marijuana. What's more, it could take at least another 30 days for the state or city to craft legislation which would give officers the ability to cite not-so-courteous people for lighting up in public.

In the meantime, in keeping with the spirit of I-502, the department's going to give you a generous grace period to help you adjust to this brave, new, and maybe kinda stoned world we live in.

Awesome, right?

There's so much more ...

Does this mean you should flagrantly roll up a mega-spliff and light up in the middle of the street? No. If you're smoking pot in public, officers will be giving helpful reminders to folks about the rules and regulations under I-502 (like not smoking pot in public). But the police department believes that, under state law, you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a Lord of the Rings marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to.

Also, please remember it's still not legal to drive stoned, use marijuana in a public place or anywhere else smoking a cigarette is prohibited.

If you have questions about enforcement we haven't answered here or in our Marijwhatnow FAQ, send them to us on Twitter via @SeattlePD.

And remember, folks: the dude abides, and so can you!

SPD's Lebowski.jpg
The Dude abides, and says "take it inside!"

As of last night at 10 p.m. Spangenthal-Lee's now-famous "Marijwhatnow?" post had received 37K Facebook "Likes." His latest effort, in three hours of work, had garnered 358 "Likes" and counting.

My guess is there's plenty more to come.

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