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15.160 - Marijuana Enforcement

Effective Date:05/07/2019


This policy applies to the enforcement of marijuana laws.

1. Officers May Provide Verbal Warnings to Persons Opening or Consuming Marijuana in Public

Warnings prior to Notices of Infraction are preferred, but not mandated.

Warnings are not effective for any set period of time. Officers can use their discretion in determining how long a warning is effective before issuing a Notice of Infraction.

2. When Issuing a Notice of Infraction for Opening or Consuming Marijuana in Public, Officers Will Cite SMC 12A.20.100 and Route it to Municipal Court

See 15.160-TSK-001 Completing a Notice of Infraction for Marijuana Use Violations under SMC 12A.20.100.

Officers shall not seize marijuana when issuing a Notice of Infraction under this policy.

3. Officers Will Only Investigate Marijuana Use Violations on Residential Property in Response to a Complaint

If an officer receives a complaint of a marijuana offense on residential property, such as an apartment balcony or fenced or unfenced yard, the officer may attempt to contact the property owner or subject of the complaint to issue a verbal warning.

If the subject of the complaint refuses to comply with the warning, the officer may write a Report or refer the complainant to the property manager in the case of rental properties.

4. Officers May Use the Parks Trespass Warning Program to Enforce Marijuana Use Violations

See Manual Section 15.275 – Enforcing Trespass in Parks.

15.160–TSK-1 Completing a Notice of Infraction for Marijuana Use Violations Under SMC 12A.20.100

When issuing a Notice of Infraction (NOI) for a violation of SMC 12A.20.100, the officer:

1. Marks the box for “Non-Traffic” at the top of the NOI

2. Completes the incident number and violator portions of the NOI with all relevant information

3. Writes “SMC 12A.20.100” in the “Violation/Statute Code” box

4. Writes $27.00 in the “Penalty” box

5. Marks the box for “Served on Violator” or “Sent to Court for Mailing”

Does not check “Referred to Prosecutor”

6. Adds information about any prior warnings in the narrative, if applicable

7. Completes and submits the NOI as usual


Adrian Diaz, Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
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The Seattle Police Department (SPD) prevents crime, enforces laws, and supports quality public safety by delivering respectful, professional, and dependable police services. SPD operates within a framework that divides the city into five geographical areas called "precincts".

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