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washington marijuana regulations

LEARN | LAWS & REGULATIONS

Washington

Is Weed Legal in Washington?

Yes. Under current Washington state marijuana laws , weed is both medically and recreationally legal for patients and adults ages 21 and older to possess and use.

Legislation History

Medical marijuana was legalized in Washington with Initiative 692 (I-692), or the Medical Use of Marijuana Act of 1998, which passed with nearly 60% of the vote. The initiative permitted patients with certain debilitating conditions, terminal illnesses, or intractable pain, to use medical marijuana. I-692 also granted legal protections to qualifying patients and their caregivers for the possession and consumption of medical marijuana.

Initiative 502 (I-502), the Washington Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Initiative, was passed by voters on the statewide 2012 ballot with 55% of the vote. Under I-502 laws and regulations, the state legalized marijuana use and possession for adults 21 and older, and established a regulatory structure for the state’s cannabis industry, creating a framework for the production and sale of adult-use marijuana.

Before I-502, cannabis distribution, possession, or use for adult-use purposes was illegal in Washington. The initiative went into effect Dec. 6, 2012, exactly 30 days after its passage and well in advance of the Dec. 1, 2013 requirement.

Shortly after the state legalized recreational cannabis in 2015, the Washington Legislature passed SB 5052 , the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (CPPA), establishing official state regulations for local marijuana businesses , which entails the production, possession, sale, and use of medical marijuana.

Overview

I-502 legalized adult-use marijuana production, distribution, possession, and consumption throughout Washington. All licensing and regulation of marijuana falls under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) .

Where is it Safe to Purchase?

Under current Washington state marijuana laws , adult-use cannabis may be legally purchased only from a state-licensed retailer. Patients and caregivers may also purchase medical cannabis from any state-licensed retailer. Tribal ID cards are valid as identification if they meet the rules laid out by the WSLCB. According to the board’s website , tribal enrollment cards may only be used if the following requirements are met:

  • The Tribe has notified the Board that it intends to use the ID card to purchase marijuana
  • The enrollment card has a photo, a signature, and a date of birth
  • The enrollment card has security features comparable to state Driver’s License.

There is a Washington state marijuana tax for retail consumers. Under state law, all retail marijuana sales are subject to a 37% excise tax, in addition to regular state and local sales tax. Medical patients are not subject to the excise tax or retail sales tax.

Where is it Safe to Consume?

It remains illegal to consume marijuana or marijuana-infused products in public view. Cannabis cannot be consumed wherever tobacco smoking is prohibited.

Possession

Under Washington state recreational marijuana laws , adults 21 and older can purchase in a single day up to :

  • 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, of usable marijuana
  • 16 ounces, or 454 grams, of cannabis-infused edibles in solid form;
  • 72 fluid ounces , or 2.13 liters, of cannabis in liquid form, and;
  • 7 grams, or a quarter-ounce (0.25 oz), of cannabis concentrates.

Medical marijuana patients may purchase and possess up to:

  • 3 ounces of marijuana , or 85 grams;
  • 48 ounces, or 1.36 kilograms of marijuana-infused products in solid form;
  • 1.69 gallons, or 6.4 liters of marijuana-infused products in liquid form, or;
  • 21 grams of marijuana concentrate.

Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal and consumption in a vehicle is neither allowed for drivers nor for passengers. Consumers can carry cannabis in their vehicles, but it must be in a sealed container or in the trunk. However, it is illegal to transport any open package or container of cannabis or marijuana-infused products.

It remains illegal to transport cannabis from across state lines. Washington stipulates that more than 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood is the limit for driving, and a blood test can be performed at a police station or a medical facility. A nanogram is one-billionth of a gram. The state advises waiting at least 5 hours after inhalation to drive, and longer after consuming edibles.

Cultivation

Cultivation of adult-use cannabis on private property for personal use remains illegal . However, medical patients can cultivate six plants and have 8 ounces of usable marijuana in the home. A health-care practitioner may authorize patients to have up to 15 plants or up to 16 ounces, or 454 grams, of usable marijuana produced from their plants.

View the cannabis laws & regulations for Washington.

Washington Marijuana Laws

Currently, both medical and recreational marijuana is legal in Washington. As the second state to legalize recreational marijuana, Washington is a hot-spot for cannabis tourism.

Purchasing Marijuana in Washington

Anyone over the age of 21 with a valid ID from any US State (or international passport) can legally purchase marijuana in Washington State, although some local jurisdictions have banned dispensaries within their city limits.

Purchases include both cannabis and cannabis-infused products along with paraphernalia such as pipes, lighters and papers, making most recreational marijuana dispensaries a one-stop smoke shop. When it is time to light up, however, make sure you’re not anywhere near a school, park or public transportation, otherwise you could be subject to a fine.

Purchasing & Possession Limits

Customers can purchase up to one ounce of cannabis flower at a time.The limit for concentrates is seven grams; for edibles it is 16 ounces; and for liquids it is 72 ounces. This is also the limit you can have on your person at any time. If you have any more than this, it’s possible the law will see this as “intent to distribute” and impose jail time or a fine.

Medical marijuana patients, however, have higher possession limits. All cardholders in the state may possess up to three ounces of usable marijuana, forty-eight ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, two hundred sixteen ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form or, twenty-one grams of marijuana concentrate.

Patients who cultivate their own cannabis are also allowed to possess higher amounts, but only if the cannabis is from their own crop. For the standard 6 plants all medical cardholders are allowed to grow, a patient may possess up to eight ounces of personally cultivated usable marijuana. Those with extended plant counts (up to 15), may possess up to 16 oz (1lb) of useable marijuana. Where to Buy

Delivery

Cannabis delivery of any kind is not allowed in Washington state.

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana

Washington state’s medical marijuana program is separate and distinct from adult-use regulations. The program allows for different pricing and possession for patients with debilitating or terminal illnesses. The qualifying conditions for the state’s program are:

  • Cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders.
  • Intractable pain, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean pain unrelieved by standard medical treatments and medications.
  • Glaucoma, either acute or chronic, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean increased intraocular pressure unrelieved by standard treatments and medications.
  • Crohn’s disease with debilitating symptoms unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
  • Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
  • Diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
  • Chronic renal failure requiring hemodialysis.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Traumatic brain injury.

More information about qualifying conditions can be found on Washington State Department of Health’s website. Get Your Card

Consumption Laws

When it comes to smoking marijuana or consuming cannabis products, it’s against the law to light up in any public place. This means that you can’t smoke a joint on the sidewalk, in a state or federal park, or in any other public place, including private property if it’s close enough to a public space where people can smell the smoke. The best places for consumers to light up are in private homes, medical marijuana collective social clubs, or at marijuana friendly hotels. Remember, discretion is key!

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

To be considered driving under the influence of marijuana, you’ll need to have at least five nanograms per milliliter of THC in your bloodstream. As a driver in Washington, you automatically give your consent for drug testing if you’re arrested. However if you refuse the test, you can still face fines and jail time. Bottom line? Avoid smoking and driving to stay on the right side of the law.

Traveling With or Transporting Marijuana

Transporting marijuana from state to state is illegal, whether crossing state lines in a car or sending a package of marijuana products in the mail. Consumers need to be aware that if a package containing marijuana is mailed, both the send and the receiver can face prosecution from both states.The consequences of breaking these laws could result in fines and up to five years in prison, depending on the amount.

Cultivation of Marijuana

Neither dispensaries, processors, nor private growers are allowed to grow their own marijuana without looking at a hefty fine of up to $10,000 and five years behind bars, regardless of whether or not there is intent to sell.

In fact, the only businesses that are strictly regulated to cultivate marijuana in Washington are licensed grow facilities, who deliver the product to dispensaries after harvest.

Medical marijuana patients, however, can grow their own cannabis. All cardholding patients may cultivate up to 6 plants, and those that get special dispensation from their doctor may grow up to 15 plants. Those that cultivate their own crop will have increased possession limits as well (8oz and 16 oz respectively). Learn to Grow

Consumption by Minors

There’s no way around it. To purchase or smoke marijuana in Washington, you need to be at least 21 years of age or older. If a minor is caught consuming marijuana, they could incur fines, suspension of a driver’s license, and even drug rehab. In fact, minors are not even allowed inside a marijuana dispensary in Washington. Having said this, minors with medical issues can receive a medical marijuana prescription from their doctor.

Legal information about medical and recreational marijuana laws in Washington, including Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma. ]]>