In Seattle, pot-carrying bus riders can reclaim lost weed

Fri May 10, 2013 10:57pm EDT
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By Jonathan Kaminsky

OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - City bus drivers in Seattle are under orders to handle small amounts of marijuana left behind by passengers as normal lost-and-found items that can be recovered by their rightful owners, now that pot is legal under state law, a transit official said on Friday.

"We collect a lot of things on Metro Transit buses, from umbrellas to lunch sacks to briefcases," said Jeff Switzer, a spokesman for the King County Department of Transportation, Metro Transit Division, which serves Seattle and surrounding suburbs. "This is one more thing we'll be handling in this fashion."

Washington state and Colorado voters passed ballot initiatives in November making the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana by adults legal for recreational purposes for the first time ever under state law.

The U.S. government still classifies cannabis as an illegal narcotic, and federal officials have said they are studying how to respond to the newly enacted marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado.

Nearly 20 states, including those two, have previously declared marijuana legal for medical purposes.

Police in Seattle, Washington's largest city, already have shown a newfound tolerance for pot, declining to make arrests for marijuana use in public - technically still outlawed in the state - at a number of events where pot smokers have celebrated the drug's new status.

"The voters voted, and this is the world we're living in now," Switzer said.

The transit directive, outlined in a memo circulated on Wednesday, informs drivers they can call for a supervisor to take possession of any waylaid weed on their buses if they feel uncomfortable holding onto the pot until they can finish their routes and drop it off at the lost-and-found center.   Continued...

Marijuana plants are displayed for sale at Canna Pi medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle, Washington, November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante