Both recreational and medical marijuana use are legal in Washington State, but there are still laws that regulate both the use and sale of marijuana. And there are strict penalties in place to punish those that do not follow these laws. Familiarizing yourself with Washington’s marijuana laws will help you to ensure that you are acting within the law when it comes to the sale, possession, and consumption of cannabis products.
Here are five things you should know about marijuana laws in Washington State:
#1. It Is Illegal to Use Marijuana in Public
As long as you are over 21, you are permitted to openly use cannabis on private property, though individual property owners have the right to restrict use according to their preference.
In public, however, the use of marijuana is strictly prohibited, including on streets, sidewalks, parks, public hiking trails, and ski resorts. It is also illegal to smoke marijuana anywhere that smoking is banned, including bars and restaurants. And, finally, the use of cannabis is illegal on any Washington college or university campus.
#2. You Can’t Grow Marijuana Recreationally
While there have been some attempts to legalize home cultivation of marijuana for recreational use, it is still illegal to grow marijuana at home. Those suspected of violating this law can face felony charges and, if convicted, up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
If, however, you are a patient that has been entered into the state’s voluntary patient database, you may cultivate up to 6 plants for personal medical use, depending on the recommendation of your healthcare professional.
#3. Don’t Use Marijuana and Drive
It is illegal to use marijuana while operating a vehicle or boat, and Washington’s DUI laws apply to marijuana use. If you are found to have 5 nanograms of THC per millimeter of blood, you will be charged with a DUI.
It is also illegal to have an open package of marijuana or marijuana-infused products in the area of your car occupied by the driver and passengers. Finally, you are not permitted to take cannabis outside of Washington’s borders, even to another state where cannabis is legal.
#4. Buy Only from Licensed Stores
It is illegal to buy or sell marijuana unless from a store licensed by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. The licensed products from these stores will be clearly labeled and have undergone testing for consumer health and safety.
#5. Know How Much You Have
The law allows for specific amounts of marijuana possession, so it’s important to be aware of how much you have in your possession. It is legal to possess cannabis products in the following amounts:
- Up to 7 grams (1/4 ounce) of cannabis concentrate
- Up to 1 ounce of usable marijuana in plant form
- Up to 16 ounces of edible marijuana products
- Up to 72 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form
A few more important laws about marijuana possession to keep in mind:
- You may not possess the maximum amount of two or more forms of marijuana at any one time.
- If you are found with more than 28 grams but less than 40 grams of marijuana, you can face misdemeanor charges.
- If you are found with over 40 grams of marijuana, you can face class C felony charges.
So, while Washington state has legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, the laws regulating the use and sale of cannabis strictly define the circumstances under which those activities are sanctioned by the state. Violating those laws could subject you to misdemeanor or even felony criminal charges.
If you are facing a marijuana-related allegation, it is imperative that you seek out competent representation. At Hester Law Group, our reputable criminal defense attorneys bring decades of experience and a deep understanding of state and federal drug laws. You can count on us to fight for your legal rights.