News

You Can't Smoke It in Public

But You Can on December 6 at a Special Event in Seattle Center

You Can't Smoke It in Public

When state-licensed pot stores open in six months, Seattle will face a conundrum: how to deal with tourists who buy pot but have nowhere to legally smoke it. State law prohibits using marijuana in public. Folks also can't smoke inside the retail pot stores, meaning cannabis will have no tavern equivalent (like Amsterdam-style coffee shops).

Seattle also lacks pot-friendly hotel accommodations. Earlier this year, I tried to persuade NORML to hold its annual pot conference here, but the plan fell through because Seattle hotels aren't cool with pot smoking—even in designated smoking rooms.

City leaders have been discussing the cannabis consumption quandary since Initiative 502 passed, and they have issued permits to a very few events that explicitly applied for pot-smoking permission. Last May, Seattle's annual marijuana march received a permit for a weed tent at Westlake Park, and High Times magazine held a huge hash oil free-for-all in September with the city's blessing.

But that pot tolerance may not extend to indoor establishments. Last month, Seattle & King County Public Health fined six hookah bars for violating the state's indoor smoking ban. Those businesses claimed exemption as "private clubs," but health inspectors allege they were open to the public or had employees.

"The smoking ban is the biggest hurdle" to coffee shops, says Assistant City Attorney Matthew York. "We have to live within the dynamics of the Clean Air Act."

Last week, the state liquor board filed proposed rules to ban all cannabis consumption—including eating it—in private clubs that are licensed to serve alcohol to members. One such place exists in Seattle: the Mercury, a members-only club on Capitol Hill that serves liquor and lets folks smoke cigarettes. But on the first Monday of the month, tobacco is eschewed for cannabis. If the liquor board has its way, the club will be forced to stop.

So where can a law-abiding tourist get high in this marijuana mecca? I found an answer, at least for one day of the year.

On December 6, Seattle Center will be the venue for a first-anniversary celebration of legalized cannabis in America. Last year, Seattle stoners spontaneously convened on the Space Needle lawn to celebrate legal pot, and this year, the event is actually permitted by the city, with privacy fencing and a smoking area. recommended

The I-502 Anniversary Celebration is Fri Dec 6, 3–11 pm, Seattle Center Next 50 Pavilion, 21+, ID required. Admission is free and possession is legal. More info at www.420.sc.

 

Comments (35) RSS

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1
you mention tourists buying pot. aren't the state stores going to require Wa. ID?
Posted by musicslug on November 13, 2013 at 10:31 AM · Report this
ben@hemp.net 2
@1 No. State-licensed pot shops will need to verify shoppers are over 21. They can be from anywhere. It'll be similar to alcohol sales.
Posted by ben@hemp.net on November 13, 2013 at 11:11 AM · Report this
3
It's legalization, Puritan style. Only in Washington state.
Posted by darkcycle on November 13, 2013 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Banned on The Seattle Times 4
But at this stage of the game Holmes is not prosecuting the smoking in public infractions so we're free to smoke in public.

Seems to me that if a hotel allows smoking in smoking rooms, they shouldn't be able to tell you what legal smoke you may consume...
Posted by Banned on The Seattle Times on November 13, 2013 at 12:54 PM · Report this
5
why not bars already equipped with outdoor smoking areas?
Posted by rhombus on November 13, 2013 at 2:12 PM · Report this
ben@hemp.net 6
@5 Because the liquor board is planning to change state rules so bars that allow on-site consumption risk their liquor license.
Posted by ben@hemp.net on November 13, 2013 at 4:22 PM · Report this
7
why can't they have that same event here in chiang mai? why can't these elite bastards running this government(which is just the same thing as monsanto) get their shit together and do what is right.
Posted by amodimethicone on November 14, 2013 at 6:03 AM · Report this
iBear 8
Come on over to my house - only $5 each.
Posted by iBear http:// on November 14, 2013 at 1:07 PM · Report this
9
The health inspectors' argument against hookah bars fails: private clubs (such as golf clubs) *do* have employees. Also, most golf clubs not named Augusta are open to the public.

Weed tourists should either be able to buy a membership or pay a "greens fee".

But I'm in favor of outdoor non-enforcement-zones too.
Posted by gypsysattva http://albloggo.blogspot.com/ on November 14, 2013 at 7:04 PM · Report this
10
the whole 'smoking ban' is f'ed up. Tried smoking cigarettes in the OUTDOOR beer garden at Bumbershoot and a few other festivals and was told 'no smoking'-because it is a 'work area' with employees-keep in mind I stay towards the outskirts of the beer garden, near the barrier. So I am forced to go outside the beer garden and smoke next to kids whilst their parents give me the evil eye.
With that said, I assume this celebration is un-staffed? (sarcasm)
Posted by April20 on November 15, 2013 at 1:06 PM · Report this
11
"All volunteer (staff) " why are loopholes only for those with lawyers?
Posted by herbisgood on November 15, 2013 at 4:34 PM · Report this
12
You know those refilable e-cigarettes, someone told me those also take hash oil.... Just a thought.
Posted by dutchie on November 16, 2013 at 2:47 PM · Report this
basmatic 13
@12

They do indeed. Vape pens are quite the thing these days.
Posted by basmatic on November 16, 2013 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Fnarf 14
"Privacy fencing" = Portable chain link with those ultra-attractive wood slats in them. So now pot smokers can enjoy the internment-camp ambiance previously afforded only to public events drinkers.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 16, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Buttercup 15
@12, @13. Yep. Smoking is for chumps.
Posted by Buttercup on November 16, 2013 at 5:18 PM · Report this
SeattleWeedTours 16
Nice article, Ben.

No one knows tourism like Seattle Center. December 6th is a Friday. Sounds like the perfect way to spark off the holiday-party season. I can't wait to see which of my neighbors I run into!

In 2011, the Washington State legislature voted to deny medical marijuana users the right to housing protections. Hopefully on this new holiday, Seattle renters will finally get a chance to try weed!

http://www.seattleweedtours.net/2013/09/…
Posted by SeattleWeedTours http://https://www.facebook.com/seattleweedtours on November 16, 2013 at 5:54 PM · Report this
17
I am more concerned that there will be enough legal pot to purchase.

There is a lot of resistance from local government and property owners (mostly fear from Fed intervention, I assume) so leasing spaces to grow pot legally is not super-easy.

I assume that it will work out somehow but we'll see more when the licenses are issued in a month or two.
Posted by David Sucher on November 16, 2013 at 6:20 PM · Report this
18
@9: I don't know the percentages, but a LOT of the golf courses in this country are private.
Posted by bigyaz on November 16, 2013 at 7:00 PM · Report this
19
Does anyone know if non-smokable products will be sold? Like brownies. Could people get their fix that way and avoid the smoking problem?

Posted by Brownies on November 16, 2013 at 7:15 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 20
Sounds like it's time to resurrect an idea a few stoner friends came up with around the time of the first HempFests: the Stone Dome.

One of those rigid tent structures like they used to have in the Kingdome parking lot (aka SlugDome), with a ventilation system pumping herb vapor into the air. No need for anyone to actually light up, so little fire hazard, and everyone gets nicely toasted.
Posted by Sir Vic on November 16, 2013 at 7:57 PM · Report this
GhostDog 21
Yeah, unless something changes my pot using tourist dollars will be going to Colorado. They will be online in time for 4/20, it looks like they will have actual places for out of towners to use it, and it just all around seems Colorado is more welcoming of the change.
Posted by GhostDog on November 17, 2013 at 4:24 AM · Report this
22
Wasn't smoking tobacco in places like restaurants banned because the second hand tobacco smoke was actually scientifically shown to contribute to cancers in non smokers? What is the rationale for automatically lumping cannabis smoke under the same rules?
Posted by peskypoop on November 17, 2013 at 7:21 AM · Report this
spaceapple 23
This shit makes me hate our puritanical state. I voted for pot to be legal, not "legal". We've managed to legalize pot in a way that guarantees people will continue to produce, buy, and consume it illegally.

Note the Oxford comma above..
Posted by spaceapple on November 17, 2013 at 9:17 AM · Report this
SeattleWeedTours 24
@21 -- word.
Posted by SeattleWeedTours http://https://www.facebook.com/seattleweedtours on November 17, 2013 at 10:12 AM · Report this
25
Jesus people. You forget how amazing and how difficult it was to get here. Be happy you don't live in the other 48 states. Have patience and remember Rome wasn't built in a day. It's all moving the right direction.
Posted by Steven Severin on November 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM · Report this
GhostDog 26
@24

Thanks. The thing is that I really wanted Seattle to come out on top here.

For the past few years I have been going to places where cannabis is in some way legal. Christiania in Denmark, Amsterdam, etc. for 4/20 since 2010. Because of the economy I was hoping that legalization in the US would allow me to enjoy freedom and not have to deal with the added expenses of going outside the US.

Of the two places I was hoping Seattle would be my go to spot as I have been a slog reader for years and other than the whole silent reading party thing am really interested in visiting. However reading about how things are rolling out as far as legalization in Seattle it looks like it will be harder to get and use cannabis than if I stay at home. Which kinda defeats the point of a weedcation.
Posted by GhostDog on November 17, 2013 at 5:21 PM · Report this
27
@22 - Smoke is smoke, however the second hand smoke argument is bullshit. The Anti-smoking campaign in the 90's lied about deaths per year and hyper exaggerated the risks to ones health. They justified it by saying it shames people into quitting.

Never smoked anything in my life, but if you're outdoors (preferably away from playgrounds and schools), I've got no problems with you smoking anything.
Posted by Drewksi on November 17, 2013 at 8:14 PM · Report this
ben@hemp.net 28
@25 Agreed.
Posted by ben@hemp.net on November 19, 2013 at 12:24 AM · Report this
29 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
30 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
31 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
32
Are e-cigs a type of smoking?If not,then they should be allowed in Seattle (ditto for e-cigs that can heat up hash oil).Is that law county-wide?Is so,then I hope it is overturned soon (perhaps via a class-action lawsuit?A call to your state legislators?Hmmmm . . . . )
Posted by 5th Columnist on November 20, 2013 at 10:29 AM · Report this
33
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Posted by doctorhookah http://www.doctorhookah.com/ on February 6, 2014 at 12:20 AM · Report this
34
Just smoke in the hotel room...people have been illegally smoking weed in hotel rooms since the 30s...they can try to make these rules and expect people to follow them, but they forget that people have been breaking weed rules for years.

People that are bitching about these rules in their "puritanical" state are insane...I live in GA, where getting caught is still a largish offense, now that's backwards. Just be glad that if you get caught smoking in public is a like a traffic ticket. Get some perspective. It will get better...even in GA, where amazingly medical is about to be passed.

Also, that state liquor board must be really scared of legal weed to vote the way thy did...even eating it is banned...that is so unenforceable (it is eat to do in high security areas like airports), it would be laughable if the people's ignorance wasn't so sad.
Posted by Gaston er on March 30, 2014 at 5:27 AM · Report this
35
Just smoke in the hotel room...people have been illegally smoking weed in hotel rooms since the 30s...they can try to make these rules and expect people to follow them, but they forget that people have been breaking weed rules for years.

People that are bitching about these rules in their "puritanical" state are insane...I live in GA, where getting caught is still a largish offense, now that's backwards. Just be glad that if you get caught smoking in public is a like a traffic ticket. Get some perspective. It will get better...even in GA, where amazingly medical is about to be passed.

Also, that state liquor board must be really scared of legal weed to vote the way thy did...even eating it is banned...that is so unenforceable (it is eat to do in high security areas like airports), it would be laughable if the people's ignorance wasn't so sad.
Posted by Gastoner on March 30, 2014 at 5:29 AM · Report this

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