Washington Marijuana Laws

Medical and recreational marijuana are both legal in Washington State; voters there approved legalization in November 2012. The first retail cannabis stores opened in July 2014.

Washington Marijuana Attorneys

The following Washington lawyers are actively involved in the practice of cannabis law:

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Washington_gleamlaw

LAW BREAKDOWN

Simple Possession

Under Washington’s marijuana law, adults over 21 may freely possess up to an ounce for personal use. There is a $100 civil fine, however, for public consumption of cannabis.

Possession of more than 1 ounce but less than 40 grams (roughly 1.5 ounces) is a misdemeanor and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 24 hours in jail, with a maximum possible sentence of 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines. Possession of more than 40 grams is a felony with a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Possession of any amount with intent to distribute is also a felony with maximum penalties of 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Sale or Distribution

Only licensed retail providers may sell marijuana in Washington. Sale or distribution of any amount of the drug outside the legal retail system is a felony subject to a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Sale or distribution to a minor who is at least 3 years younger than the seller is also a felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines. Sale or distribution within 1,000 feet of a school or school bus stop, in a public park, in a public housing development classified as a “drug-free zone,” or on public transit is punished with doubled fines and incarceration.

Cultivation

Washington may have been one of the quickest states to legalize marijuana, but it’s the only one that does not permit home cultivation for recreational use. Aside from medical marijuana patients and caregivers, all growers in Washington must be licensed by the state. Any other cultivation can be treated as a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Cultivation within 1,000 feet of a school or school bus stop, in a public park, in a public housing development classified as a “drug-free zone,” or on public transit is punished with doubled fines and jail time.

Hash and Concentrates

Washington allows adults to possess up to 7 grams of hashish or marijuana concentrate. Possession of more than 7 but less than 40 grams is a misdemeanor punishable by 24 hours in jail and a maximum fine of $250.

Possession of more than 40 grams is also a felony and carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Manufacture, sale, distribution, and possession with intent to distribute are all felonies with the same penalties. Penalties are harsher with each subsequent offense.

Paraphernalia

Marijuana paraphernalia is now legal in Washington for adults over 21. Distribution, possession with intent to distribute, and manufacture with intent to distribute carry a penalty of up to 1 year in prison and $50,000 in fines where the paraphernalia is distributed to a minor at least 3 years younger than the distributor.

Advertising paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by between 24 hours and 90 days in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Washington State’s medical marijuana law, enacted by ballot initiative in 1998, removed state-level penalties for the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by qualifying patients.

“Qualifying patients” refers to those who have valid documentation from their physician stating that the “potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks.”

Qualifying conditions – Cachexia, Cancer, Crohn’s disease, Glaucoma, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, intractable pain, persistent muscle spasms/spasticity, nausea, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), seizures, traumatic brain injury, and any other “terminal or debilitating condition”

Patient possession limits – Those in the voluntary patient database are permitted to possess: 48 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, 3 ounces of useable marijuana, 216 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form, or 21 grams of marijuana concentrates.

Home cultivation – Those in the voluntary patient database may cultivate up to six plants for personal medical use, and may possess up to 8 ounces of usable marijuana produced from the plants. If a physician confirms that the medical needs of the patient exceed these limits, he or she will be able to grow up to 15 plants, yielding up to 16 ounces of usable marijuana, for the medicinal use of the patient.

If a patient has not been entered into the medical marijuana database, he or she may grow up to four plants for personal medicinal use, and may possess up to six ounces of usable marijuana.

State-licensed dispensaries – No. Retail providers may engage in the sale of medical marijuana.

Caregivers – Yes. A designated caregiver is a person who has been confirmed in writing by a patient to serve as their primary caregiver. Caregivers must be at least 21 years or age. Providers must either possess authorization from the patient’s physician, or must be entered into an authorized database. The provider is only allowed to provide cannabis to the specified patient.

Reciprocity – No

Contact informationWashington State Department of Health

PENALTIES

Offense Penalty Incarceration   Max. Fine

Possession

Personal Use

1 oz or less (private possession/consumption) No Criminal Penalty None $ 0
1 oz or less (public consumption) Civil Penalty None $ 100
1 oz – 40 g Misdemeanor 24 hours* – 90 days $ 1,000
More than 40 g Felony 5 years $ 10,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence

With intent to distribute

Any amount Felony 5 years $ 10,000

Sale or Distribution

Any amount Felony 5 years $ 10,000
To a minor at least 3 years younger Felony 10 years $ 10,000
Within 1000 ft of a school, school bus stop or in a public park, in a public housing project designated as a drug-free zone, in public transportation, and other locations is punishable by double fines and imprisonment.

Cultivation

Any amount Felony 5 years $ 10,000
Within 1000 ft of a school, school bus stop or in a public park, in a public housing project designated as a drug-free zone, in public transportation, and other locations is punishable by double fines and imprisonment.

Hash & Concentrates

16 oz or less marijuana-infused product solid form No Criminal Penalty None $ 0
72 oz or less marijuana-infused product liquid form No Criminal Penalty None $ 0
7 g marijuana concentrate No Criminal Penalty None $ 0
Possession of more than 40 g Felony 5 years $ 10,000
Manufacture, sale, delivery or possession with intent Felony 5 years $ 10,000
Subsequent offenses carry greater penalties.
Patients may possess hash and concentrates for medical use. See details section.

Paraphernalia

Advertisement Misdemeanor 24 hours* – 90 days $ 1,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Civil Asset Forfeiture

Vehicles and other property may be seized.

Miscellaneous

Knowingly maintaining a structure used for drug offenses Felony 5 years $ 10,000
Controlled substances homicide Felony 10 years $ 20,000
Parents of a minor to whom a controlled substance was sold or transferred have a cause of action against the seller.
Juveniles will have their driving privileges revoked.