Seattle Cops Return Pot to Dealers

By McCarton Ackerman 04/09/13

Officers politely ask dealers to "refrain from dealing" and let them go, weed in hand.

Just don't do it again, ok? Photo via

Like President Obama, apparently Seattle cops now have "bigger fish to fry" than persecuting legal marijuana users; in a recent case, this even includes giving dealers a free pass. Selling marijuana without a license is still illegal in Washington state, but the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that cops in the city declined to arrest a group of people they caught selling the drug. They then returned the weed and told the dealers not to smoke or sell it in public places. “In street dealing cases, this would be the first time. Ever,” says Seattle Police Department (SPD) spokesman Sean Whitcomb. Six of the 12 individuals busted had a total of 36.8 grams of marijuana between them, but the SPD wrote on their blog that the drugs were returned because those dealers were first-time offenders and "the amount possessed is legally allowed." The released dealers were also given an "admonishment letter" explaining the rules for possessing marijuana. "The admonishment letter is reasonable, because we are not restricting their freedom to go anywhere," says SPD Narcotics Lt. Mike Kebba, "SPD will just be requiring them to comply with the law while in public places and refrain from drug dealing.” The other six offenders didn't get off so easy; they were arrested due to their history of drug dealing and violent crimes, and two were also in possession of meth. State officials are still in the process of figuring out how to dispense marijuana now that it's legal. The reported plan is to give state-licensed stores permits to acquire and sell it, but the Liquor Control Board has not yet set up such a system.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.