Seattle, WA: Seattle voters overwhelmingly passed a citywide initiative this week minimizing the amount of time local police may spend enforcing marijuana possession laws.
Nearly six out of ten voters backed the measure, known as Initiative 75, which requires the Seattle Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office to make the “investigation, arrest and prosecution” of adults for pot possession the city’s “lowest law enforcement priority.” Sponsors of the initiative, the Sensible Seattle Coalition, maintain that the ordinance will save money and allow law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes.
Under state law, possession of as little as one gram of marijuana is criminally punishable by 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Similar marijuana “deprioritization” laws have been previously enacted in other metropolitan areas, including San Francisco and Oakland, California; Amherst, Mass.; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Madison, Wisconsin, among other places.