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December 11, 2013 at 4:08 PM

$27 fine for smoking pot in public clears council committee

Corrected version: Due to an editing error, a previous headline on this story gave an incorrect fine amount.

A majority of Seattle City Council members in a committee vote today approved fines of $27 for public pot smoking. The full council is expected to endorse the action Monday.

City Attorney Pete Holmes had initially proposed $50 fines; when administrative fees were added the total cost of a fine could reach $103.

Sponsored by Councilmember Nick Licata, the lower fines were meant to mirror the penalty for illegally drinking alcohol in public. The council wants Seattle police to give a warning before fining someone consuming pot in public, which is prohibited under the state’s voter-approved pot law.

The council also would require the Seattle Police Department to monitor the age, race and sex of those fined, and the locations of violations. Police would be required to report findings every six months.

Five of the nine council members backed the fines in a unanimous vote of the Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee. They were Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Sally Clark, Bruce Harrell and Licata.

The legislation would leave it to the Seattle Municipal Court to determine the toal cost of fines after administrative costs. The law would allow the court to tack on about $28 in added fees.

“I fully support this bill,” said Holmes, who has emphasized that it’s in interest of the new legal pot law to enforce its ban against public consumption.

0 Comments | Topics: marijuana, Seattle City Council

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