On Nov. 6, when the legalization of marijuana was voted on in Washington, there were many assumptions and hanging questions about what the new law actually meant. One man was arrested shortly after the law was passed for smoking marijuana in a public park. He thought he was safely doing so because marijuana had just been legalized, but technically that would not go into effect for two months, and new laws did not allow public consumption, either. The new law does not officially take effect until Dec. 6, but already 220 possession cases have been retroactively dismissed.
A guide for the public on what legal use now means in Washington has been published. Jonah Spangenthal-Lee is a former journalist who was hired by the police department earlier this year, and along with police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, the two have produced good advice for the public on how they can better understand I-502.
Here are a few snippets from the pamphlet:
Q:What happens if I get pulled over and an officer thinks I’ve been smoking pot? A: If an officer believes you’re driving under the influence of anything, they will conduct a field sobriety test and may consult with a drug recognition expert. If officers establish probable cause, they will bring you to a precinct and ask your permission to draw your blood for testing. If officers have reason to believe you’re under the influence of something, they can get a warrant for a blood draw from a judge. If you’re in a serious accident, then a blood draw will be mandatory.
Q:What happens if I get pulled over and I’m sober, but an officer or his K9 buddy smells the ounce of Super Skunk I’ve got in my trunk? A: Under state law, officers have to develop probable cause to search a closed trunk or locked container. Each case stands on its own, but the smell of pot alone will not be reason to search a vehicle.
The article Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle is just one attempt to inform the public of what they can expect from the passage of 1-502. Washingtonians are now faced with learning the new marijuana DUI law that came with I502, which sets 5 nanograms as the standard for what is too much THC in the system for driving.