Although marijuana is legal in the state of Washington, public transit systems in various cities still have the right to temporarily ban passengers if they happen to step onboard enough times reeking of the sweet leaf.
Bremerton resident Matthew Little found this out the hard way after his bus riding privileges were revoked for six months because he smelled of marijuana.
A report from KIRO-7 indicates that Little is the first person in 2016 to be thrown off and banned from riding Kitsap Transit for hygiene issues associated with the consumption of marijuana.
“From time to time, I smell like I just smoked some marijuana probably because I just did,” Little said.
Officials with Kitsap Transit say these types of bans are often imposed on passengers who show up smelling of cat urine, feces, body odor and “other bad smells,” but that these foul folks are always given three warnings before disciplinary action is taken.
However, Little, a long time medical marijuana patient, says he was not given the luxury of a three-strike rule, only told that his scent “unreasonably disturbs others” in a notice of exclusion barring him from even standing at a bus stop until early 2017.
But transit officials say Little’s odor was so intensely rotten that at least four separate complaints had been filed against him before the agency issued the notice. The transit agency said he “chose to ignore repeated warnings that violating our rules of conduct would result in his exclusion.”
Yet, an investigation into the Kitsap Transit’s Code of Conduct found no mention of marijuana odors, which Little believes should be revised in an effort to prevent other tried-and-true cannabis enthusiasts from being kicked off the bus for participating in the state’s legal marijuana market.
So far, Kitsap Transit has no plan to update the odor policies to include the smell of cannabis. A spokesperson said the agency is “not singling out marijuana odor, but when it makes customers or drivers physically ill, it’s not acceptable.”
Little plans to appeal the decision.
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