About 122 people in Seattle have been issued $27 tickets for smoking marijuana in public since January 1, and the Seattle prosecutor wants to drop all of those pot tickets due to the way they were enforced.
Although buying, selling, and transporting marijuana is legal in Washington (state), smoking it in public, at least in Seattle, is not. Although, smoking pot in public in Seattle is a relatively minor offense, resulting in a $27 ticket. However, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has a couple of problems with that, and is moving to dismiss all of those pending marijuana tickets and refund the money to those who have already paid the fine, according to ABC News.
The first problem the Seattle prosecutor has with those marijuana tickets is the fact that 80 percent of them, according to KOMO, were written by one rather overzealous Seattle cop.
Seattle P.D. officer Randy Jokela opposed Washington’s legal marijuana, and his ticket-writing reflected that. On some, he addressed them to “Pete Holmes,” and on others he referred to Washington’s marijuana laws as “silly.” He even had some rather colorful ways of deciding who would get a ticket.
“(Suspect) lost the coin flip so he got the ticket while the other person walked. (Suspect) was allowed to keep his pipe.”
Officer Jokela had been temporarily reassigned, according to KOMO, but is now back at work while an internal investigation continues.
The Seattle prosecutor’s other problem with the marijuana tickets is the fact that they exhibit racial bias, according to Reuters.
Holmes told a Seattle city council meeting that 80 percent of the tickets were given to black men; a highly disproportionate number that does not truly reflect Seattle’s racial makeup.
“Enforcement needs to be implemented in a much more even-handed manner.”
Since Washington (state) legalized recreational marijuana, like Colorado, there have been some problems. For example, according to this Inquisitr report, the number of drivers prosecuted for driving under the influence of marijuana rose 25 percent post-legalization. Fortunately, there was not a corresponding increase in fatal car accidents.
Seattle’s municipal court will hear the prosecutor’s request and issue a decision on whether or not to drop all 122 marijuana tickets later this week.
[Images courtesy of: MTL Blog, KOMO]