Washington marijuana law explained

Washington marijuana law
Barbara Krause purchases a CBD joint rub following Cannabis 101 for Seniors at Vela on Thursday, March 16, 2017. (GRANT HINDSLEY, seattlepi.com)


What are Washington’s current marijuana laws? Noted cannabis attorney Hilary Bricken explains the new terrain.

1. What is personal consumer marijuana law in Washington?

In November 2012, hours after Colorado legalized marijuana for adults 21 and older, Washington State followed suit by passing Initiative 502 to legalize the use and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older. Washington’s current marijuana laws and regulations, which account for both recreational and medical marijuana, prohibit home growing for non-qualifying patients but do allow qualifying patients to cultivate marijuana. Patients who register with the state’s medical marijuana authorization database may cultivate up to six plants at home (with up to a maximum of 15 if their physician recommends it) which can yield a maximum of eight ounces. Patients who do not register with the state may grow up to four plants and possess up to six ounces of useable marijuana from those plants. Cooperative cultivation is allowed only if the participating qualifying patients register with the state’s qualifying patient database.

2. Do I need a doctor’s note to buy weed?

No. All you need is a recognized ID showing you’re 21 or older. State-licensed retailers in Washington can apply for and receive a medical marijuana endorsement that allows them to sell medical marijuana to qualifying patients with a doctor’s recommendation. If you’re a qualifying patient and you want to buy more than an ounce or high-THC or high-CBD content products that are also exempt from sales tax, you’ll need have a doctor’s recommendation and you’ll need to be registered with the state’s qualifying patient database.

3. How much weed can I carry in Washington?

Adults 21 and older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana flower, up to 16 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, up to 72 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form, and up to seven grams of marijuana concentrate. Patients who fail to register with the state are allowed to possess the same amounts as adults 21 and up, in addition to the six ounces they’re permitted to have if they cultivate at home.

Qualifying patients registered with the state’s database can possess 48 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, three ounces of useable marijuana, 216 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form, or 21 grams of marijuana concentrates.

4. Can I drive Washington cannabis back to California?

No you cannot. Transporting marijuana over state lines is a serious crime under the federal controlled substances act because marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance pursuant to federal law. So, restrain yourself accordingly.

5. Where can I smoke cannabis in Washington?

You can smoke or use marijuana only in the privacy of your home (or the home of your friends) or in your (hopefully) marijuana-friendly hotel room. Washington does not allow on-site consumption of marijuana on or inside the premises of a state-licensed retailer. Washington doesn’t permit consuming marijuana in public either and it’s a civil infraction to do so. Washington State also prohibits any kind of marijuana social, consumption, or vapor club, lounge, association, or business.

[Hilary Bricken is an attorney at Harris Bricken, LLP in its Los Angeles office and she chairs the firm’s Canna Law Group. Hilary is also lead editor of the Canna Law Blog.]