Where can I smoke cannabis in Seattle?
June 9, 2014 8:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm in Seattle for a few days, and I purchased a small amount of pot. Where can I legally smoke it? Preferably near Belltown.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (13 answers total)
Erm... I mean, the legality of cannabis in Seattle is generally pretty clear, if not still murked by shades of gray. Basically smoke it wherever you want as long as you aren't near a school or blowing smoke in anyone's face. Just roll a joint or two, go somewhere relaxing, and light up! Even before the most recent legislation Seattle police were told to place open smoking of weed on the lowest of priorities (i.e. Jay-walking was a more prioritized crime. The implications of this previous policy was that the police didn't really arrest anyone for openly smoking weed, as the DA wasn't prosecuting them even when it was illegal).

So don't stress! Be chill and relaxed :)
posted by jjmoney at 9:22 AM on June 9, 2014

Find a park, walk away from other people, spark away. This is generally acceptable etiquette no matter where you are: don't stink up someone else's space (so, be outside) and don't infiltrate anyone else's nostrils (so, be far enough away from other folks).
posted by theraflu at 9:33 AM on June 9, 2014

I see (well, smell really) people smoking pot in this town all the time, pretty much everywhere smoking is allowed. If you'd like a nice spot to do it near Belltown, I'd suggest going down to the waterfront, particularly Myrtle Edwards park. Seattle Center and the big fountain there are nice too.
posted by hackwolf at 9:45 AM on June 9, 2014

Actually you're not supposed to smoke in public. Much like having an open container of alcohol in public, doing so could result in a civil infraction—like a ticket—but not arrest. The OP asked where they could legally smoke it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:45 AM on June 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

From an anonymous commenter:
There are two cafes in Seattle that allow people to bring their own to smoke (PDA Lounge in Belltown and Have A Heart Cafe in the Univeristy District), but you have to have a medical license to visit either establishment.

To legally smoke without a medical license, you need a friend who owns their home.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:09 AM on June 9, 2014

I like to enjoy cigars and I try to be respectful of those downwind-- the diffuse volatiles of cigar smoke are fine for most people, but up close, it's a thicker smoke that irritates many. So while I'm not an MJ smoker, I have some of the same problems. Near Belltown I enjoy doing so in Myrtle-Edwards Park, in the SAM Sculpture Garden, and Seattle Center. I've smelled pot smoke at all of these places, and FWIW, I have never seen anyone get hassled for it.

Bring a jacket; it looks like rain this week.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:14 AM on June 9, 2014

The SPD have stated: Given a man on one corner drinking alcohol from an open container and a man on the opposite corner smoking a joint, they will cite the drinker first.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:26 AM on June 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Pretty much like jaywalking, technically illegal but: “For lack of a better way to put it, if nobody sees it, it didn’t happen” said Patrick Michaud, a public information officer with the Seattle Police Department.
posted by 0 at 10:54 AM on June 9, 2014

PM me.
posted by loquacious at 11:29 AM on June 9, 2014

Also, to elaborate on the other answers, you're more likely to get cited for jaywalking or an open container of alcohol in belltown then for smoking cannabis. You'd have to light up indoors at a bar or in a lobby somewhere to even raise an eyebrow, and even then SPD would verbally warn you first, written warning second and then give you a stern talking to before bothering to write a public intoxication ticket, which isn't even actually a misdemeanor but a nuisance fine.

Even before 502 SPD was on the record stating that it was a lower priority than jaywalking, and jaywalking is the official sport of downtown.

In belltown your biggest risk is that someone will want some.

If you want a guide, PM me. I know all the cool spots.
posted by loquacious at 11:47 AM on June 9, 2014

Agreed. I see people walk by cops while smoking pot, and the cops don't even bat an eyelash.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:41 PM on June 9, 2014

And I'm being prodded to elaborate and actually answer the question.

As far as I understand 502 and WA state law with regards to smoking anything indoors, including tobacco - it's not legal to smoke cannabis anywhere except for a privately owned home and maybe some privately owned and operated apartments or condos.

Any lounge or bar that permits it is technically breaking the law. You're not allowed to smoke anything indoors at any public space. You're not allowed to smoke indoors in most apartments, as in almost all of them. Especially if the apartment building accepts section 8 or low income housing. I think WA state's very strict anti-smoking ordinances may even apply to rented homes.

It might be legal to smoke indoors a private hotel in a smoking room, but I think that depends on the choice and rules of the hotel. I doubt any hotel has ever gone on record even in smoking rooms that it's permitted.

This is a known problem with 502 and medical cannabis as it leaves a large swath of the population with no where to legally smoke.

So, all that being said: you're very, very unlikely to be cited for smoking discreetly in public. As far as I know there haven't been any citations issued for public consumption in Seattle since 502 passed. I haven't heard of any yet. I haven't even heard of anyone getting busted for small time public sales or possession with intent to distribute. There are now several quasi-legal delivery services openly operating without 502 permits, and the public reaction of SPD is "We don't really care."

There were just a couple cases where some small time street dealers in the University District had their pre-packaged for-sale cannabis returned to them on the street with nothing more than a warning.

There was also just a bust in West Seattle where a couple of houses were raided and the cops found what was as far as I recall the largest single grow up in the history of the metro area of Seattle, on the order of thousands of plants. The cops didn't arrest anyone, but instead the removed a quantity of plants of the operator's choice (!) until they were within the rules for medical production, then left.

So, is it actually legal to smoke in public? Nope. But it's as close as you're likely going to get in North America, if not most of the world.
posted by loquacious at 5:24 PM on June 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't smoke, but there a very few clubs that set up "private" areas for cannabis.

This blog has very short list, as well as other pot-related Seattle info.

But yeah, as loquacious and others have said, public consumption is very unlikely to be noticed by law enforcement -- just don't be a law-flouting jerk about it and please do it well away from my sensitive nose. :)
posted by verschollen at 5:51 PM on June 9, 2014

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