Seattle police plan to mingle with the 85,000 people expected to attend this year’s Hempfest to hand out bags of Doritos with information about what is and is not legal now that Washington's Initiative 502 has been passed. The vote legalized possession and established a statewide system of regulations for the growing, processing and distribution of marijuana.
The bags include a link to an FAQ on SPD's website entitled "Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle," which explains the nuances of Washington's new law. For example, possession up to an ounce is legal, but it cannot be sold, given away, or -- this festival notwithstanding -- smoked in public.
"We chose Doritos because they're iconic as a delicious snack for people who might enjoy pot," said SPD spokesman Sean Whitcomb. "The goal's not to feed people and I know we're going to run out but at the same time we want people to know what the rules are, respect the vote and follow the law."
Despite the passage of Initiative 502, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Hempfest's executive director, Vivian McPeak, wants to remind attendees that "as long as [marijuana] is still a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, it's not legal anywhere. The job's not done yet."
Police are more concerned with the mundane aspects of public intoxication, foremost among them driving under the influence. "We are not taking a heavy hand," said Whitcomb, "but we want people to be absolutely clear and we want minors to know it's not at all all right for them to consume pot. It's not OK to drive under the influence of anything, marijuana included, and distribution is still a felony."
The SPD has yet to write a ticket for violating Initiative 502.
Video from KOMO 4 News below:
["Portrait Of Young Female Smoking A Marijuana" on Shutterstock.]