Just where can you legally smoke pot in Wash. on Thursday?

Just where can you legally smoke pot in Wash. on Thursday?

SEATTLE -- As of Thursday, it will no longer be against the law in the state of Washington to smoke marijuana.

The Seattle Police Department is busy figuring out what all the intricacies of their policy will be, and there is a learning curve for marijuana users as well.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is still reviewing the new state, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney's Office released Wednesday.

"Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on Dec. 6 in Washington state, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law," said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.

It will still be illegal to smoke marijuana in public places, such as a Bumbershoot concert, on a downtown street corner, or in a public park. In fact, think of it like an open container of alcohol -- anywhere you can't drink, you can't smoke marijuana either.

Nevertheless, some people planned to gather at 12 a.m. Thursday to smoke pot beneath Seattle's Space Needle. Others planned to party outside Hempfest headquarters in Seattle.

"So, the idea of someone smoking in public, they shouldn't be doing it, and if we deal with them they could get a ticket," said Seattle police spokesman Sean Whitcomb.

But Whitcomb says it's not something officers are going to be looking for.

"In fact, the joke might be that if we see someone smoking a joint on one corner, and someone drinking a beer on the other corner, we're going to go after the beer drinker," Whitcomb said. "Marijuana is still our lowest priority by city ordinance."

In the privacy of your home, of course, you will be able to use marijuana. But not if you live on the University of Washington campus.

"What would happen is that it would put at risk a lot of federal funding that we receive," said Norm Arkans, a University of Washington spokesman.

"We get a lot of research funding, our students receive federal Pell grants, we are obligated under the federal law to ensure that there are no drugs on campus."

That's because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, and so like the UW, no dope smoking at Seattle's North, South, and Central Community Colleges.

"Since the federal law is in effect, we are going to adhere to the federal law," said Paul Kilpatrick, president of Seattle Central Community College.

He says there hasn't been any push back or feedback from the students yet. "But I'm sure I'll hear about it later," he said.

And while smoking marijuana will soon be legal and purchasing it will be legal, selling it will not. Which creates a certain conundrum.

The Seattle Police Department is updating the "frequently asked questions" section of their website and they'll post that in the next couple days.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


Statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office on Initiative 502:

The Department of Justice is reviewing the legalization initiatives recently passed in Colorado and Washington State. The Department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. Neither States nor the Executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6th in Washington State, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Members of the public are also advised to remember that it remains against federal law to bring any amount of marijuana onto federal property, including all federal buildings, national parks and forests, military installations, and courthouses.