Monday, July 29, 2013

Public consumption of marijuana discussed during City Council committee meeting

Public consumption of marijuana, including smoking, was discussed during last week's City Council Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee meeting. 

During the public comment time, a few citizens testified in favor of the proposed ordinances.  One University District resident complained about neighbors being exposed to marijuana smoke emanating from other people's homes and about the ease of illegally buying marijuana.  With his testimony he submitted marijuana that he had purchased while waiting for the bus to get to the meeting.

A Metro bus driver complained about feeling light-headed after some riders blew marijuana smoke in his face.  This impairment requires that he pull the bus to the curb and call for a replacement. 

A Metro bus rider stated that she suffers from asthma and has had to get off buses when other riders either smoke marijuana on the bus or enter the bus reeking of marijuana smoke.

Two drafted ordinances are being considered.  One would address the part of I-502 that prohibits marijuana use in view of the public and the other would update the ordinance prohibiting public tobacco smoking to include marijuana smoking. 

When asked about enforcing the no public use law, Seattle Police Sergeant Sean Whitcomb said that Police Chief Pugel's number one goal is education.  He added that, if needed, having a ticket is a good enforcement tool. 

When Councilmember Sally Bagshaw asked about marijuana use in bus shelters, the City Attorney said that there is a jurisdictional issue (King County has jurisdiction over buses while the County and SPD share jurisdiction over shelters) and he will continue to work with Sheriff John Urquhart on the issue.

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