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Washington is one of the states that has legalized weed in the past two decades and did so in 2012 as a result of its inclusion on the November ballot, where a majority of Washington’s residents voted in favor of its legalization.
Since weed remains illegal federally, it means that each state has different laws and regulations, which can make it somewhat difficult for people to familiarize themselves with the exact laws they need to be following when visiting or living in each state.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the current legal status of weed in Washington, as well as all of the rules and regulations that you’ll need to follow if you plan on consuming marijuana in Washington!
Overview Of Washington’s Laws
When it comes to laws surrounding weed, Washington is one of the most permissive states in the entire country, having legalized it back in 2012, along with Colorado, making Washington one of the first states in the entire country to have legalized the recreational use of weed.
Since this initial legalization, Washington has gone on to refine and tailor the laws surrounding marijuana in the state to ensure that there is an emphasis on public safety and minimizing any risk of misuse.
Under the law in Washington, adults who are aged 21 and over can possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use, and are allowed to possess up to 16 ounces of marijuana-infused products so that they take a solid form, including things such as edibles, as well as 72 ounces in liquid form.
Concentrates of Marijuana are also completely legal, with a limit of seven grams. These laws apply to both residents of Washington, and those visiting the state, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the law if you’re going to be visiting the state sometime soon.
Despite their relatively lax laws on possession, there are still some restrictions on where marijuana can be used in Washington.
It is illegal to use marijuana in public places, including parks, sidewalks, and public businesses, and it’s also illegal to smoke marijuana in rented properties and multi-unit housing complexes, however, this can be permitted at the discretion of the landlord.
There are also some laws in place about the production and distribution of weed in the state too.
All products in the state that contain weed must be tested and labeled with comprehensive information about their ingredients, strength, and potential side effects, which allows customers to make an informed decision when purchasing.
In addition to this, retailers selling weed must have a state license to do so and will be regularly subjected to inspections and other regulatory requirements as detailed in the law.
So, while it might seem like Washington is a state that is particularly relaxed about recreational weed usage, there are some laws and regulations in place to help minimize any misuse and ensure the safety of the public.
Medical Marijuana In Washington
In addition to legalizing recreational marijuana, Washington also has a medical marijuana program that allows patients to use marijuana for medical purposes.
Patients with qualifying medical conditions living in Washington can obtain a medical marijuana card that allows them to purchase and possess larger quantities of marijuana than are allowed for recreational users.
For patients to qualify for the medical marijuana program in Washington, then they must have a qualifying medical condition, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If they have one of these conditions, then they must also obtain a recommendation from a licensed healthcare provider, who will help to verify that they have a qualifying condition, and allow them to be granted the ability to obtain marijuana for medical purposes.
Once they are registered with the state, medical marijuana patients in Washington are allowed to possess up to three ounces of usable marijuana, 48 ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form, and 216 ounces of marijuana-infused products in liquid form.
Qualifying patients in Washington are also allowed to grow up to six plants for personal use, or up to 15 plants if they have special authorization from the state.
It is worth noting that all medical marijuana patients in Washington are subject to many of the same rules and regulations as recreational users, such as age limits and restrictions on where marijuana can be consumed.
Despite this, they are afforded some additional protections under state law, such as exemptions from certain criminal penalties and discrimination protections in housing and employment.
Fines And Penalties
While the overall perception of Washington’s weed laws is that they’re considerably relaxed in comparison to the states that have yet to legalize weed, prospective weed users should be aware that the state still imposes fines and penalties for breaking its marijuana laws, both for recreational and medical use.
For example, those found to be in possession of marijuana over the legal limit or without a valid prescription can result in fines ranging from $100 to $250 for a first offense, with higher fines for subsequent offenses.
In addition to this, possession with intent to distribute, as well as driving under the influence of marijuana, can result in more severe penalties, including jail time, fines, and license suspension.
For retailers, selling marijuana without a valid license can result in fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to five years, and landlords and employers may have the right to prohibit marijuana use on their property or in the workplace, and violating these rules may result in penalties or termination of lease/employment.
We hope that this guide to the current legal status of weed in Washington has been helpful, and so long as you abide by the laws and regulations, you’ll be able to enjoy weed in Washington, enjoy!
Learn more about West Coast weed laws and the legal status of cannabis in neighboring states.
I’m an avid gardener and cannabis enthusiast. You can usually find me in my garden caring for my plants or at my computer crafting helpful blogs for my readers.