Washington Marijuana Laws
We all know weed is legal in WA. But, what do the regulations actually say about Washington marijuana laws? Check out our guide to learn what you need to know.
So, is marijuana legal in Washington? Let's find out.
Marijuana is a schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, making its possession or usage a federal offense. However, there’s a standing conflict with this position in states. This conflict leads cannabis users in different states to ask questions specific to their states.
That’s why residents and visitors interested in marijuana in Washington often ask questions such as,
- “Is weed legal in Washington State?”
- “What do Washington marijuana laws look like?”
- “Is recreational marijuana legal in Washington?”
Since every state has distinctive marijuana laws, understanding how the state marijuana law works is an important aspect for medical and recreational users.
So, what are Washington marijuana laws? To get started, here’s some basic information that provides an overview of marijuana possession and usage in Washington.
Washington Medical Marijuana Laws
Is weed legal in Washington State? Yes, Washington marijuana laws permit the use of medical marijuana.
In 1979 the Washington Court of Appeals acknowledged the medical necessity for cannabis possession in the case of State v. Diana, a Spokane man with a condition of multiple sclerosis.
Although weak, the court’s ruling on conviction for the possession of marijuana for a medical condition became the early grounds for medical marijuana usage.
In 1998, Washington legalized medical marijuana by passing the Medical Use of Marijuana Act of 1998, Initiative 692 (I-692).
The initiative passed with 60% of the vote, permitting patients with terminal illnesses, intractable pain, or other qualifying medical conditions to use medical marijuana. The initiative also granted qualifying patients and their caregivers legal protection for the possession and consumption of medical marijuana.
Initiative 692 legalized the possession and use of medical marijuana for adults 18 and older with debilitating medical conditions and established the marijuana regulatory body for Washington state.
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) has regulatory rights for the production, sale, and distribution of marijuana in Washington state.
Washington Marijuana Laws: Getting a Marijuana Card
The use and possession of medical marijuana are legal in Washington, but having a marijuana card is what makes you a legal medical marijuana user, according to Washington marijuana laws.
Also, you can only purchase weed legally from a state-licensed dispensary with a marijuana card.
The law says that patients who intend to register for a medical marijuana card in Washington State must have at least one qualifying medical condition and apply to the Washington State Department of Health.
Applying for a marijuana card has a process and requirements you should adhere to; otherwise, the Washington State Department may deny your application.
The following are the requirements necessary for the WSDH to approve your application:
- You must be a resident of Washington state
- You must be 18 years and older
- It would be best if you had a diagnosis of one of the qualifying conditions
- You should have an authorization form completed and signed by your medical professional
- To register in the state medical marijuana database, take your authorization form to a medically licensed cannabis store, where a certified professional will register you and issue a medical marijuana card
- Minors under the age of 18 years can access medical marijuana cards only after their parents/legal guardians have registered in the database on their behalf
Getting around the registration process can sometimes take a lot of work for new and old applicants, but Elevate Holistics makes it straightforward.
Washington Marijuana Laws for Recreational Use
Is weed legal in Washington state for recreational use? Yes, Washington marijuana laws permit the use, purchase, and possession of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.
In 2012, 55% of voters passed the Washington Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Initiative, Initiative 502 (I-502).
Initiative 502 made Washington (joined by Colorado) the first U.S state to legalize recreational weed and the first to permit recreational marijuana sales.
Before the legalization, the Washington House of Representatives considered two bills to decriminalize the possession of forty grams or less of weed in 2010. Both bills didn’t pass.
Cannabis activists in the state attempted to push another bill, Initiative 1068, to remove criminal penalties for cannabis users over 18, but the campaign didn’t make it to the ballot.
However, in 2015, after the Washington Marijuana laws for recreational use changed, the state legislature passed bill SB 5052, the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (CPPA).
The bill provides the official regulations for the production, sale, and use of marijuana in Washington state.
Washington Marijuana Laws
After addressing the questions, “is weed legal in Washington?” and “is weed legal in Washington state for recreational purposes?” let’s look at the laws guiding the use, possession, and sale of marijuana in Washington.
Understanding the weed law in Washington is an essential aspect because the regulations of the state bind even marijuana card-carrying patients.
The penalties for going against the Washington marijuana laws range from fines to serving jail time.
With this in mind, what are the guidelines you should know to stay on the side of the law?
Washington Marijuana Possession Law
The Washington marijuana laws permit the following possession limit for adults 21 and over (including unregistered patients):
- 1 ounce of marijuana flower
- 16 ounces of weed-infused products in solid form
- 7 grams of weed concentrate
- 72 ounces (2.13 liters) of liquid weed products
Possession of more than 1 ounce constitutes a misdemeanor. The penalty is 24-90 days of jail time and a maximum fine of $1,000. Over 40 grams is a felony with up to 5 years of jail time and a $10,000 fine.
However, the weed law in Washington allows patients registered in the medical marijuana database to possess higher amounts of cannabis:
- 3 ounces of weed flower
- 216 ounces (6.4 liters) of liquid marijuana products
- 48 ounces of marijuana products in solid form
- 21 grams of marijuana concentrate
Does Washington Marijuana Law Permit Home Cultivation?
Washington marijuana laws don’t permit growing marijuana for recreational use.
However, registered medical patients can cultivate up to six plants and possess up to 8 ounces of their weed at home.
The limit for marijuana card patients can go as high as 16 ounces if a medical professional authorizes it.
Unregistered patients who have authorization from a medical practitioner but are not on the database can have up to four plants and possess up to six ounces of their plants.
The penalty for growing recreational weed is a felony with a sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
Want to grow your weed but don’t know how? Click here for more information.
Where Can I Buy Cannabis in Washington?
The Washington marjiuana laws permit the purchase of weed from stores with a license from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis board.
To purchase cannabis from these stores, you must be 21 or older and have a valid ID.
You can find a list of approved dispensaries in Washington state here.
Is Weed Legal in Washington State for Out-of-State Patients?
No, the weed laws in Washington do not include reciprocity. So, visiting patients don’t have the benefits of card-carrying Washington weed patients.
However, visitors 21 and older may purchase from any licensed store.
Washington DUI Laws
The weed law in Washington does not permit driving under the influence of marijuana.
More so, the state does not allow any amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in your system when driving.
If the authorities apprehend you for driving under the influence of weed or other drugs, you’re liable to face the following:
- A mandatory minimum sentence of at least 24 hours in jail and a maximum sentence of up to 364 days in jail
- A minimum of a one-year ignition interlock device requirement
- Fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
- The suspension of your driver’s license for a minimum of 90 days
- Up to 5 years of probation and court monitoring
- Washington Medical Marijuana Program Application
Where Can I Consume Weed in Washington?
The Washington marijuana laws protect the use of weed in private residences. But the law does not allow the consumption of weed in public spaces.
This includes playgrounds, schools, buses, vehicles, parks, and any other public space that prohibits the use of weed.
Also, since marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, it is a federal offense to use weed in federal buildings and lands.
Do Washington’s Weed Laws Allow Patients to Have Caregivers?
Yes, medical marijuana patients under 18 are required to have a designated caregiver. Adult patients can also have a caregiver to purchase and grow marijuana.
The criteria for caregivers include the following:
- The caregiver must be no younger than 21 years old
- The patient must name the caregiver on their medical marijuana authorization form
- A caregiver must be registered on the Washington Health Departments database
- The caregiver must complete and sign the authorization form for patients who are minors.
- The caregiver must have a designated provider card if the patient is registered in the database.
Elevate Holistics: Access to the Best of Marijuana in Washington
Our promise at Elevate Holistics is to ensure you have adequate and reliable information about the therapeutic benefits of marijuana and every law about marijuana in Washington.
Both medical and recreational marijuana is legal in Washington, but like every other state, medical patients enjoy more advantages.
With our telehealth platform, you can begin your medical marijuana card process from the comfort of your home.
We can also help you find a dispensary near you, get an appointment with a qualified practitioner, and answer all your questions about medical marijuana in Washington.
Learn more about Washington marijuana laws by clicking here.