Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Seattle to vote next year on marijuana initiative

SEATTLE -- The Seattle City Council voted yesterday to place pro-marijuana Initiative 75 on the ballot next September.

I-75 would make the city's prosecution of marijuana cases, where the drug was intended for adult personal use, the city's "lowest law enforcement priority."

Some council members said I-75 was unnecessary because the city rarely cracks down on adults who possess small amounts of marijuana -- 40 grams or less -- for personal consumption.

The city prosecuted 143 marijuana misdemeanor cases last year out of 17,500 total cases referred by police, said City Attorney Tom Carr.

But Councilman Nick Licata, who has endorsed I-75, said the initiative aims to influence policy far beyond Seattle's borders. "I see this as one small step in the national debate about the need for drug reform," said Licata.

Copyright © 2002 The Seattle Times Company