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Seattle Voters Approve Initiative Making Marijuana Enforcement City's "Lowest Priority"

Thursday, 18 September 2003

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.

For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500 or visit the Sensible Seattle website at:
http://www.sensibleseattle.org