Seattle Police Chief Speaks at Pro-Marijuana Rally

Jim Pugel

SEATTLE, WA —  In the wake of Washington’s historic  marijuana legalization measure last November, Seattle Police Department’s top cop,  Interim Chief Jim Pugel, spoke at the Cannabis Freedom March at Westlake Park on Saturday.

“We are not here to condemn it. We are not here to endorse it,” he said of marijuana use. “The police are here to make sure it is all done legally.”

Instead of fighting the voter approved measure, the Seattle Police Department have embraced the change, and are adapting to the new state law.

“We are public servants and we want to make sure what they voted for works,” Pugel added.

Pugel called on smokers to respect law enforcement and obey the law.

“Don’t use it in public, don’t provide to minors, buy only from lawful dispensaries,” he said.

Pugel added that the new law legalizing marijuana for adults made police officers’ jobs easier.

Several hundred people took part in Saturday’s “Cannabis Freedom March,” which was dubbed “A Funeral for Prohibition” by Seattle Hempfest organizers.

The annual march made its way from Volunteer Park to Westlake Center in Downtown Seattle.

Other  speakers included Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, who reminded attendees that when he first ran for office four years ago advocating for marijuana decriminalization, Washington residents could still be sent to jail for as little as a joint in their pocket.

“We’ve made amazing, amazing progress,” Holmes said.  Holmes used his speech to call for reform of federal marijuana laws, which conflict with Washington and Colorado’s recently enacted legalization efforts.

Washington State Liquor Control Board chair Sharon Foster also spoke at the rally.  Fosters office is charged with establishing a state-wide system to license and regulate marijuana growers and stores.