Marijuana users and police agencies around the state are scrambling to figure out what happens now that voters have decriminalized possession. The Seattle Police Department has come up with a way of organizing things that so far seems agreeable to many city residents.
Seattle police have posted a how-to guide for marijuana questions. It's called Marijwhatnow, and it's quite popular, with more than 17,000 likes so far on Facebook.
It's like a frequently asked questions section you'd find on most websites, including important questions like, "If SPD seized a bunch of my marijuana before the election, can I get it back?" Answer: "No."
"Can I smoke pot outside my home?" The answer to that is also no. It's just like an open container of alcohol. You won't get arrested, but you could get a fine.
"Marijwhatnow? was written by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, a former journalist who wrote for The Stranger, a weekly alternative newspaper in Seattle. He was hired by the police department earlier this year.
"I just try to write posts I'd want to read," Spangenthal-Lee said. "I knew we were probably going to be inundated with questions about I-502, so I figured I'd try to get answers to the kinds of questions Seattle residents (and reporters) might ask, and put them out there."
Whitcomb said officials wanted people to realize that cops have a sense of humor, too. "I think this is an example of us really hitting the appropriate tone for our audience," he said.
While the user's guide does go over new rules for the city, it also reminds those that choose to imbibe on Dec. 6 that what happens in Washington in no way changes things at the federal level.
"There's still more questions because it's so new," said Whitcomb, noting that "the state says it's legal, the federal law says it's not."
That looming specter of federal enforcement is noted on the blog post:
"...You probably shouldn't bring pot with you to the federal courthouse (or any other federal property)," Seattle police warn.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.