As the story of marijuana in Washington continues to unfold, it was Seattle's turn to add a page Friday. The city attorney wants to update Seattle's code to make it against city rules to smoke pot in public.
Initiative 502 already made it a state law that smoking, or even opening a package of marijuana, is illegal in public. What's happening now is the city is updating its rules to reflect the state law; that way, any money they collect from fines can stay here.
You might not always see it, but odds are you've at least smelled people smoking pot in public. Now the city is changing its rules to say, even more clearly, that you can't smoke weed in public.
In a council meeting Friday afternoon, people spoke out with concerns. One Metro bus driver even said he's had passengers blow pot smoke right in his face and create a safety risk.
"Once that takes place, I feel inebriated, I feel lightheaded, I'm no longer safe as a bus driver to operate that bus, and I then have to notify the county to send another driver out,” said the Metro driver.
Police can already give citations, but the city wants to give more direction.
"It's not enough that we've legalized possession for adults,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes. “It's also important that remember, with that new freedom comes some responsibility."
If there's one place you can count on public pot smoking is at Hempfest, but organizer and advocate Vivian McPeak agrees with the changes.
“I think that cannabis smokers need to be responsible and sensitive,” he said. “I'm not a tobacco smoker, I don't like walking through tobacco smoke. I would imagine non-pot smokers would feel the same way."
The city will now be able to collect $103 from the citation instead of the money going to the state, but police say that's not the reason for the change.
"This isn't a crackdown. It's not going to be a revenue grab. And quite honestly our number one course of action encountering adults smoking pot in public is to let them know to stop it,” said Seattle Police Department spokesman Sean Whitcomb.
To give perspective on how low of a priority this is for the police department, since Initiative 502 went into effect, they've issued zero tickets for public pot smoking. If the city ordinance does pass, and it likely will, it will go into effect the beginning of 2014.
KING 5's Mitch Pittman contributed to this report.