Seattle mayor seeks clarity on clashing marijuana laws

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on November 8, 2010 at 8:09 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 8 at 9:03 PM

SEATTLE  -- It's a growing problem, in more ways than one; medical marijuana laws are clashing with police marijuana enforcement.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wants to make it clear that he doesn't want legal growers targeted. On Monday, he invited Seattle Police Chief John Diaz, King County Sheriff Sue Rahr and other officials to discuss conflicting marijuana laws.

The summit follows a botched police raid in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood last month. Armed with a warrant, police stormed a South Seattle apartment, broke down the door and held the tenant, Will Laudanski, at gunpoint after a neighbor had reported smelling pot.

"It's a traumatic experience." said Ben Livingston with the Cannabis Defense Coalition. "A report of marijuana smell is not worth six or seven cops holding automatic weapons barging into a disabled Army veteran's home."

Laudanski had a legitimate medical marijuana card for the two small plants he was growing. Police realized their mistake and left without arresting him or seizing his plants.

It's confusing for police who don't know who is authorized to use medical marijuana. There is no database or registry for users or growers.

"Enforcement of marijuana laws against individuals using it for medical reasons or for personal use is indeed our lowest enforcement priority," said McGinn.

Laudanski is considering a civil suit against the city.

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