Seattle City Attorney: Don’t Pay Pot Tickets

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes wants stoners cited for catching a buzz in public to not pay their fines.

Last week, High Times reported on a pot-hating Seattle cop named Randy Jokela who was demoted to desk duty after an internal investigation revealed that he was single-handedly responsible for issuing nearly 80 percent of the city’s citations for public marijuana consumption. Of course, this unsavory discovery did not go over with newly sworn in Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, who took offense to Jokela’s bad police humor, which included a series of messages on the back of the tickets slamming the pro-pot politics of City Attorney Pete Holmes.

While officer Jokela may have thought he was putting the screws to Seattle potheads by enforcing petty street rules that no one, including the City Council, ever expected officers to give a damn about, Holmes took it upon himself earlier this week to counter the crooked cops’s dastardly doings by sending a message to the recipients of his pot citations: “My hope is that the people who received the tickets do not pay them,” he said.

Regardless of how many public pot-smoking citations Jokela has handed out since the beginning of the year, the City Attorney’s office is primarily responsible for issuing court summons for those who fail to pay fines. Holmes says he refuses to collect money for citations that should have never been written in the first place. “These are tickets that appear to have been issued for an improper purpose and should not be enforced,” he said.

As you can imagine, many Seattle police officers are bent out of shape over comments made by the city’s lead prosecutor telling people to ignore tickets. “I think that is a very irresponsible comment from him,” said Ron Smith, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild. “It sends a bad message that an elected prosecutor says, ‘Don’t pay your tickets.'”

Despite the passing of Initiative 502, the public consumption of marijuana is still illegal in Washington State. Yet, an ordinance passed last year by the Seattle City Council gives police the authority to ticket this offense to the tune of $27, even though officers have been encouraged to issue warnings whenever possible.

Holmes recently told reporters that he felt bad that marijuana users across Seattle were being bullied by police to get to him. Well Pete, as long as you make the tickets disappear we’ll call it even.

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