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A Seattle police officer has been reassigned after a review of police records found the officer had written 80 percent of the marijuana citations issued in the city so far this year.
The officer even added notes to the back of some of the citations, including one in which he voiced his opinion that Washington's marijuana legalization laws are "silly," reports Reuters.
What else did the department's investigation find? And if pot is legal in Washington state, why are pot smokers still being cited?
Officer Addressed Citations to Pot-Supporting City Attorney
According to Seattle police, 66 of the 83 citations for public pot use issued so far in 2014 were written by the one officer in question.
In addition to his note regarding Washington's "silly" marijuana laws, the officer also added notes to tickets requesting the attention of Seattle City Attorney Peter Holmes; some citations were personally addressed to "Petey Holmes." According to The Seattle Times, Holmes was a vocal supporter of Washington's legalization of recreational marijuana use.
The report also found that African Americans were being cited disproportionately for public pot use. Although comprising just 8 percent of Seattle's population, African Americans received 36 percent of the citations issued in the first six months of 2014.
Wash. State Law Still Prohibits Public Use of Marijuana
Although Washington state legalized the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes in 2012, it still remains against the law to smoke marijuana in public in Washington. The same is true in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is also legal under state law.
In Seattle, the fine for public consumption of marijuana is $27, although the law also states that "whenever practical, the Seattle Police Department intends to provide a first warning for persons violating the provisions of this ordinance."
In addition, Washington pot users must also refrain from growing their own. Although it is legal to purchase dried marijuana from state-sanctioned retailers, only licensed growers are permitted to have live marijuana plants.