Is Marijuana Legal in Washington?

is weed legal in washington state
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Nine years ago, the Evergreen State became one of the first two states to legalize the recreational and medical use of marijuana for adults. Washington achieved this via ballot initiative I-502, where residents of Washington voted to legalize the purchase, sale, and use of marijuana for adults ages 21 and older. 

This initiative also directed the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) to set up guidelines to regulate the production, sale, and delivery of marijuana across the state. Continue reading to find out more about the marijuana laws in Washington. 

Is weed legal in Washington?

Yes, weed is legal for recreational purposes in Washington. Adults ages 21 and older can lawfully purchase and possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational and medical purposes without fear of harassment from law enforcement. However, it is illegal to consume marijuana or marijuana-infused products in public places such as parks, bars or restaurants, parking lots, concerts, and other public events. 

Are edibles legal in Washington?

Yes, edibles are legal in the state. Adults over 21 can purchase and consume marijuana edibles in Washington. However, it must be used only on private property and must not be transported across state borders outside Washington. 

Is it legal to possess weed paraphernalia in Washington?

Yes. Possession of paraphernalia for the use of marijuana in Washington is legal. However, possessing paraphernalia for purposes other than marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a mandatory minimum of 24 hours or a maximum of 90 days of incarceration and a $1000 fine.

Is medical marijuana legal in Washington?

Yes. Medical use of marijuana is legal in Washington for qualifying patients with medical conditions such as:

  • Cancer or any terminal condition
  • Hepatitis C
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Cachexia
  • Glaucoma
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Nausea
  • Intractable pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries

There are no provisions for people with Anxiety or Depression in Washington.

How do I get a medical marijuana card in Washington?

Washington State itself does not issue medical marijuana cards. However, residents of Washington aged 18+ can apply for medical marijuana evaluation if they have any medical conditions. 

Patients/caregivers must obtain a written recommendation or signed medical marijuana authorization form from a licensed physician, not necessarily a medical doctor. Any of these medical professionals can help you; Osteopathic Physician Assistant (DOA), Naturopathic Physician, Physician Assistant, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP), an Osteopathic Physician (DO).

Once you have obtained your medical marijuana authorization form, you can proceed to any medically licensed retail store with proof of identification like your passport, out-of-state ID, Washington State ID. Once your identity is proven, the approved retailer should effectively generate an MMJ or recognition card.

Can I go to a dispensary without a card in Washington?

Technically, you can purchase marijuana without a card in Washington. However, if you need to get medical marijuana from a dispensary in the state, you’ll need to present a recognition card.

How long does it take to get your medical card in Washington?

It can take up to two weeks to get your recognition card in Washington.

Does Washington accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards?

Unfortunately, Washington State does not accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards. Nevertheless, since recreational marijuana is legal in Washington, you can purchase up to 1 ounce of marijuana or 7 grams of concentrates. Still, MMJ cardholders within the state can possess that amount thrice.

Marijuana bills/laws in Washington & key questions

On November 3, 1998, Washington legalized the medicinal use of marijuana through Initiative 692. This initiative permitted patients with certain medical conditions like terminal illness and intractable pain to use medical marijuana. It also provided legal protections to patients and their caregivers for the possession and consumption of marijuana. 

In 2012, the Evergreen State took a step further to legalize the recreational use of marijuana through a statewide ballot Initiative 502 that was approved. This measure aimed to regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for adults aged 21 and above. It also authorizes and taxes marijuana sales and appropriates marijuana-related revenues. It also removed criminal and civil penalties for marijuana-related activities.

How much marijuana can I have in Washington?

Residents of Washington aged 21 and above can possess one ounce of usable Cannabis, 16 ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form, and 72 ounces in liquid form. Patients with qualifying medical conditions may have 48 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, 3 ounces of usable marijuana, 216 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form, or 21 grams of marijuana concentrates.

Is Marijuana decriminalized in Washington?

Yes, Washington has decriminalized marijuana possession statewide. Possessing the authorized amount of marijuana or marijuana-infused product in solid or liquid form is not a criminal offense and will not attract a civil penalty.

Is there a fine or penalty for marijuana possession in Washington?

No. There’s no penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana (one ounce of usable marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form, 72 fluid ounces of marijuana-infused products in liquid form, and 7 grams of concentrates) for personal use. However, possession of 40 grams or more of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of 90 days in prison. Offenders could also be fined up to $1000.  

How many Cannabis plants per household in Washington?

Home cultivation of cannabis in Washington for recreational use is a Class C felony punishable by five years imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000. Notwithstanding, medical marijuana patients can cultivate up to 6 plants and have about 8 ounces of marijuana at home. A licensed health care practitioner may authorize patients to have up to 15 plants or 16 ounces of marijuana. 

Washington dispensaries regulations 

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) is responsible for overseeing the cannabis industry in the state and licensing new dispensaries. The WSLCB regulates dispensaries in Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB). 

They are only allowed to sell concentrates, flowers, and infused products. Also, dispensaries cannot be within 1,000 feet of elementary schools, playgrounds, recreation or child care centers, public parks, libraries that allow minors, and public transit centers.

Washington grower’s requirements?

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) is responsible for statewide licensing and regulating cannabis cultivation. Unfortunately, The WSLCB isn’t issuing licenses to growers currently. 

Closing thoughts

While Washington remains one of the leading states in the legalization of marijuana, it seems reluctant to legalize the home cultivation of marijuana for recreational users. For instance, in January 2021, Rep. Shelley Kloba introduced House Bill 1019 to legalize home cultivation of up to six plants per adult (no more than 15 plants for households with more adults). The bill got a 7-2 vote in the House and Gaming Committee. Sadly, it didn’t get a vote from the Appropriations committee. With several amendments made to the bill, residents of Washington can only hope that it eventually gets approved.

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