Please note: ILGM is NOT a legal adviser. Information contained in this website is intended as general introductory information only. The information contained on this website is not legal advice. It should not be construed as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
On December 6, 2012, the State of Washington approved Initiative 502. This law allows adults to possess marijuana for their own personal use. There is a cap on just how much one person can possess at a time, and it must be used in private.
Under the Washington Medical Marijuana Law, patients with qualifying conditions are allowed to buy, possess and use cannabis. There are strict caps on the amount of marijuana and cannabis products an individual can possess at one time.
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Possessing Marijuana in Washington
Adults in the State of Washington are allowed to possess the following amounts of marijuana, in private, for personal use:
- No more than 1 ounce of cannabis
- No more than 7 grams of marijuana concentrate
- No more than 16 ounces of solid form cannabis-infused products
- No more than 72 ounces of liquid form marijuana-infused products
Possessing 1 ounce to 40 grams of cannabis is a punishable misdemeanor. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence between 24 hours and 90 days in jail. This offense comes with a mandatory fine imposed of $250 for first-time offenders, and $500 for subsequent offenders. There is also a chance of an additional fine being imposed, up to $1,000.
It’s a Class C felony to possess more than 40 grams of marijuana in Washington. This offense is punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and up to 5 years in prison. First-time offenders must pay an additional fine of $1,000, subsequent offenses come with a $2,000 additional fine.
Washington also considers possession with intent to distribute a Class C felony, no matter how much marijuana is involved. This charge comes with a fine up to $10,000 and up to 5 years in prison. There is an additional mandatory fine for first offenses of $1,000 and $2,00 for subsequent offenses.
Possession of over 40 grams of cannabis concentrates of hash is also a Class C felony. This crime comes with an imposed fine up to $10,000 and up to 5 years in prison.
Medical Marijuana Patient Possession
In order to participate in Washington’s medical marijuana program, a physician’s recommendation is required. Medical cannabis patients in this state may possess the following amounts of related products:
- No more than 3 ounces of usable cannabis
- No more than 21 grams of cannabis concentrates
- No more than 48 ounces of solid form cannabis-infused products
- No more than 216 ounces of liquid form cannabis-infused products
Selling Marijuana in Washington
It is only legal for state-licensed retail locations to sell cannabis, which is strictly regulated by the state of Washington. Sales can only be made to people over 21 years of age. All other marijuana sales are felonies subject to prosecution as follows:
- Distribute or sell cannabis (any amount) = Up to a $10,000 fine and/or up to 5 years in jail (Additional mandatory fine for first-time offenders of $1,000 and $2,000 for subsequent offenders)
- Adult distributes cannabis to minor 3 years younger or more = Up to a $10,000 fine and/or double imprisonment term for that sale
- Selling concentrates or hashish = Fine up to twice the concentrates or hashish value and up to 5 years in prison (Subsequent offenses come with mandatory prison term of 5 years)
Growing and Manufacturing Marijuana in Washington
It is a Class C felony to cultivate cannabis in Washington for distribution or personal use. This conviction comes with a fine up to $10,000 and/or up to 5 years in prison. First-time offenders must pay a $1,000 additional mandatory fine, $2,000 is imposed on subsequent offenders.
Manufacturing concentrates and hashish with the intent to deliver is also a Class C felony. This crime is punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence up to 5 years.
Home cultivation of cannabis is allowed for those in the voluntary patient database (medical marijuana patients). These patients may cultivate the following only within their own domiciles:
- For personal use – Up to 6 plants
- Usable cannabis produced from personal plants – Up to 8 ounces
Any person who is a qualifying patient not yet within the database may still grow a limited amount of cannabis in her/his own domicile:
- For personal medical use – Up to 4 plants
- Usable cannabis – Up to 6 ounces
Designated providers and qualified medical cannabis patients are allowed to buy marijuana seeds, clones and immature plants from state-licensed producers. This requires that both the producers and the patients possess recognition cards and be entered into the state’s medical marijuana authorization database.
In order to become a commercial provider, a producer license is required. These businesses are allowed up to three licenses at a time. There’s a $250 application fee and a $1,000 annual fee incurred. This allows them to sell cannabis products to other producers and at wholesale prices.
Criminal background checks are required in some cases, which are conducted at the applicant’s expense. The grow facility must be secured with video surveillance, alarm systems, employee IDs and insurance. Every plant cultivated by commercial providers must be tracked seedling to day of sale.
Medical Marijuana Collectives
Collective cannabis cultivation is generally conducted by medical marijuana patients, for those patients. They require memberships and grow marijuana on a not-for-profit basis. Each collective medical garden must follow strict public safety guidelines as follows:
- No more than 10 qualifying members allowed
- No more than 15 plants per patient, and no more than 45 plants altogether
- No more than 24 ounces of usable marijuana per patient, and no more than 72 ounces in total
Using Marijuana in Washington
In the state of Washington, marijuana is legalized for personal use. However, the state’s possession laws and restrictions apply.
Washington defines cannabis as “all parts of the plant.” This includes every salt, compound, preparation, mixture, manufacture or derivative of the cannabis plant itself, as well as any extracted resin from it. All marijuana products are legal in this state, as long as possession rules are followed.
This state has enacted medical marijuana laws for patients with severe, debilitating conditions, including, but not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Intractable pain
- Persistent muscle spasms
- Other debilitating or terminal conditions
Washington Hemp Law
Hemp is marijuana that contains no more than .3% THC. Washington passed its Hemp Law in 2012 through Initiative 502, which legalized the licensed production of both industrial hemp and marijuana.
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Breaking the Marijuana Laws in Washington
In Washington, first-time cannabis offenders may have conditional waiving of standard sentences. If a small amount was involved (under the judge’s discretion), the sentence may be waived, and the offender sent to a prison-based alternative or treatment program.
The presiding judge has the discretion to suspend sentences and impose probation in all drug offense cases. Paying fines may be a condition of the probation, as well as visiting probation officers regularly.
It’s a civil violation to consume cannabis in public, which is subject to fines. Consuming marijuana while operating a moving vehicle is against traffic safety laws. Anyone operating a vehicle in Washington while in possession of marijuana shall transport it in a sealed container in the glove compartment, trunk or another area not accessible to passengers or the driver.
Advertising drug paraphernalia is a punishable misdemeanor in Washington. It’s punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and a mandatory jail sentence of 24 hours to 90 days. Giving away or selling drug paraphernalia is a civil infraction that comes with an imposed fine of $250.