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Washington became one of the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2012. But there are a lot of challenges ahead: the state must set up a licensing system for marijuana growers and sellers, the federal government may mount a challenge, the need to set a new limit on amount of marijuana in the bloodstream for safe driving. And medical marijuana is still in the picture.Over the next several months we will be exploring the issue and tracking the impact of I-502.

Fine For Smoking Pot Outside Cheaper Than A Parking Ticket

Flickr Photo/Dann Cove (CC-BY-NC-ND)
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If you’re caught smoking marijuana in public in Seattle, you could be fined $27.

That’s the fine for drinking in public, but still less than a parking ticket.

The Seattle City Council approved the $27 fine on Monday – significantly less than the $103 penalty allowed by Washington state’s marijuana law.

The legislation calls for police to first issue a warning, when practical, and requires the police to monitor by age, race, sex and location. That’s so the city council can evaluate whether the law is being fairly enforced.  

The measure would take effect 30 days after being signed by the mayor.

Washington voters approved Initiative 502 in November 2012, legalizing the possession of marijuana and directing the state Liquor Control Board to implement a system to regulating sales.