Operation Orange Fingers: Seattle Police Hand Out Munchies at Hempfest

Go ahead and inhale

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Nick Adams / Reuters

People pack a glass bowl with marijuana during Hempfest's 420Fest at the Luxe Nightclub in Seattle, Washington April 20, 2013.

You’ve just smoked a lawfully-rolled reefer, hopped a local bus to Seattle’s annual Hempfest, and you’re ready to groove to the tunes of Space Owl and Junior Toots. But wait, here come the police — what the heck do they want? Don’t they know pot’s legal now in Washington State? They look very serious, they’re for some reason headed straight for you, and holy smokes, they’re armed with… bags of Doritos?

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Yes, Doritos, and one of those bags is for you — a friendly peace offering, no strings attached. It’s all part of something Seattle’s police force has dubbed “Operation Orange Fingers,” a ploy to draw the attention of attendees at Hempfest, the world’s largest annual stoner shindig happening this weekend.

Okay, one teensy string while you nosh: the one-ounce bags of nacho cheese chips will include information about the state’s new pot law, as well as a link to the department’s Marijwhatnow “Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle.” Among other things, the FAQ conversationally states that you must be 21 or older to possess marijuana, and that you’re only allowed up to an ounce for personal use. You’re also not allowed to smoke in public, and the police say they’ll bust minors they catch consuming (a misdemeanor) as well as anyone dealing the drug (a felony if you’re not a state-licensed store).

There’s even a bit of celebratory language in the FAQ:

Despite a longstanding national prohibition on marijuana, minor marijuana possession has been the lowest enforcement priority for the Seattle Police Department since Seattle voters passed Initiative 75 in 2003. Officers don’t like grey areas in the law. I-502 now gives them more clarity.

“A lot of people still have questions about the nuances of the law and 2013 is a year very much in transition for people who enjoy pot,” said department spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, via The Seattle Times.

The department seems to have a healthy sense of humor, too. Here’s a sample of what it tweeted yesterday:

How many bags will the police be handing out? About 1,000, paid for privately by the Seattle Police Foundation. How many people are expected to attend Hempfest? The Times says 250,000, meaning you’d best arrive early if you want dibs.

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