MLT Council gets first look at marijuana ordinance

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By Doug Petrowski

The Mountlake Terrace City Council got its first look Thursday night at a newly proposed ordinance relating to marijuana legalities within the city. The ordinance would make possessing small amounts of marijuana lawful, but consuming marijuana — or even opening a package of it — in view of the general public a class 3 civil infraction in Mountlake Terrace.

The new ordinance would bring city code in line with state law created by I-502 passed by voters last November.

“Our code presently makes possession of marijuana a misdemeanor. Obviously it is still no longer that, so that has to be changed,” Mountlake Terrace Assistant Police Chief Pete Caw told the council. The new ordinance would repeal the outdated city code.

The new state law created by the passage if I-502 permits adults over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of usable marijuana, up to 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product, up to 72 ounces of liquid marijuana-infused product, and related drug paraphernalia. New state law also makes consuming marijuana, or opening a package of it, in public view a civil infraction. The proposed city ordinance mirrors the state regulations.

Caw told the council that, with the new city code, officers could cite offenders of the usage in public view stipulation. “A class 3 infraction has to take place in the presence of the officer,” Caw explained. “They can’t act on someone else’s statements or the fact of probable cause. It’s much like a speeding ticket. If you see them doing it, you can write them an infraction for it.” Although not knowing the exact amount of the fine, Caw speculated in would be “in the neighborhood of $100-plus.”

The city council is expected to approve the proposed ordinance as part of its consent calendar at its Feb. 19 council meeting.

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