A marijuana-centric festival in Washington state this weekend will have a heavy police presence, but the cops will be a little friendlier than one might expect.
Instead of handing out summonses at Hempfest 2013, Seattle police have announced plans to hand out bags of snacks— with a message.
Seattle Police Department spokesman, Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said the department intends to use the opportunity to get the word out about their guide to Washington's new marijuana law by attaching a summarized version attached to bags of Doritos.
The guide — called “Marijwhatnow?" — was written by a former journalist, who is now on staff with the police department, a week after Washington voters passed state law I-502, which legalized the possession of up to an ounce of recreational marijuana.
“When the laws changed, there was a little bit of an informational vacuum about how police would react,” Whitcomb said.
“Marijwhatnow?” clearly states that Seattle police will not arrest anyone for possessing under an ounce of marijuana, but also outlines the rules pertaining to marijuana that do still exist in the state and at the federal level.
The police expect to hand out 1,000 bags of Doritos labeled with “quirky” summaries of these guidelines, said Whitcomb.
“We’re there to let people know what the rules are,” and he realized, “not everybody will get a bag, but hopefully people will talk about what’s allowed and what’s not.”
Seattle's Hempfest is billed as the largest protest of cannabis laws in the world and expected to attract 200,000 pot enthusiasts, according to Vivian McPeak, 54, the executive director of the event.
It is anticipated to span two miles of waterfront Seattle parks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Sgt. Whitcomb is also a schedule speaker at the three-day event.
“We wanted to do something in a fun way that said, ‘look this is cool and everything but the rules are the rules,’” he said, adding, “I’ll probably throw out a few bags of Doritos.”
First published August 14 2013, 4:39 PM