Washington Cannabis Laws + Possession Limits

by Kat Austin December 31, 2023 5 min read

Washington Cannabis Laws + Possession Limits - Vida Optima™

In Washington, cannabis laws have experienced significant shifts, echoing the changing trends seen nationwide. From strict regulations to widespread acceptance of medical and recreational marijuana, the landscape of cannabis laws in the state is multi-faceted.

Join us as we delve into the intricate realm of Washington's regulations, uncovering details about possession limits, cultivation guidelines, legal consequences, and the nuanced pathways for accessing and sharing cannabis within the state.

Table of Contents
Is Cannabis Legal in Washington?
Washington Cannabis Laws
Penalties for Marijuana-Related Crimes
Where to Buy Cannabis Online

Key Takeaways

  • Cannabis is legal for recreational and medical use in Washington. 
  • Adults can buy and possess up to one ounce of cannabis products, or more with a medical card. 
  • There are penalties for possessing more than the allowable amount of cannabis, for unlicensed sales, and for consuming in public spaces. 

Is Cannabis Legal in Washington?

Cannabis flower and THC concentrate, two forms of cannabis that may be available in legal Washington state dispensaries.

Marijuana is legal in Washington for medical and adult (recreational) use. The Medical Use of Marijuana Act, passed in 1998, allows patients with qualifying conditions to use cannabis for treatment. Registered patients can possess specific amounts of marijuana products and cultivate plants. For those not registered, limited plant cultivation is allowed.

Initiative 502, enacted on December 6, 2012, legalized adult-use marijuana, permitting adults aged 21 and above to possess specific quantities of cannabis products for personal use in private. However, growing marijuana plants at home is not permitted. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board oversees and regulates all marijuana-related activities in the state.

Regulations for Adult Use

Adult use is legal in Washington. That means that adults 21 years and older can:

  • purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis, 16 ounces of cannabis-infused edibles in solid form, 72 ounces in liquid form, and 7 grams of cannabis concentrates.
  • Consume cannabis in private spaces.
  • Travel with cannabis as long as it is in a closed container in a place that is out of reach to passengers. 

Regulations for Medical Use

In Washington, medical cannabis is legal for those with a medical card. Medical patients enjoy the same rights as adult use consumers, but may also:

  • Access higher amounts of cannabis, up to:
    • Three ounces of usable cannabis
    • Forty-eight ounces of cannabis-infused product in solid form
    • Two hundred sixteen ounces of cannabis-infused product in liquid form or
    • Twenty-one grams of cannabis concentrate
  • Grow up to 6 plants in a private location that is locked away from those under the age of 21
  • Possess up to eight ounces of cannabis harvested from their own plants
  • Use cannabis if under the age of 21 with a doctor's recommendation. Users under 18 must designate a caregiver to purchase and administer cannabis. 
  • Consume cannabis in a private residence or approved medical facility. 

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis in Washington

In Washington, a doctor can recommend cannabis for:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Crohn's disease
  • Hepatitis C
  • Anorexia
  • Muscle spasms
  • Cachexia
  • Seizures
  • Glaucoma
  • Intractable pain unrelieved by conventional treatment or medications
  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Spasticity disorders
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Chronic renal failure requiring hemodialysis
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Restrictions

In Washington, licensed cannabis stores sell marijuana within specified limits. Possession exceeding these amounts is illegal for adults and medical marijuana patients. Regulations include:

  • Prohibition of marijuana use on federal property, public areas, and within 1000 feet of schools.
  • Consumption allowed only in private residences; public use incurs a $100 fine.
  • Interstate transportation of marijuana is illegal.
  • Only adults over 21 with valid US ID can purchase and use recreational marijuana; under 21 for medical purposes.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs is a felony, even for medical marijuana patients.
  • Local councils can restrict or ban cannabis stores in specific zones.

Washington Cannabis Laws

Legalization for Medical and Recreational Use

  • Washington legalized marijuana for medical use in 1998 under the Medical Use of Marijuana Act.
  • Adult-use marijuana was legalized in 2012 through the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Initiative, allowing sales from July 8, 2014.

Regulation by the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB)

  • The LCB oversees the marijuana industry, regulating producers, processors, and retailers.
  • Maximum possession quantities for individuals are established.

Cannabis Patient Protection Act (CPPA):

  • Passed in 2015, it integrated medical marijuana into the LCB's regulatory framework, establishing standards for production, sales, and use.

Amendment Bills (2022) - HB 1668, SB 5547, SB 5517, HB 1667:

  • HB 1668 and SB 5547 focus on regulating cannabinoid products, particularly those with impairing effects and THC content.
  • SB 5517 aims to prevent job rejection due to marijuana use revealed in drug tests.
  • HB 1667 modifies ownership conditions for marijuana businesses, requiring residency for ownership and specific details about stakeholders for licensing.

Penalties for Marijuana-related Crimes in Washington

Possession:

  • Up to 1 ounce is not subject to penalty when possessed in private. Public consumption results in civil violation and fines.
  • Possession of 1 ounce to 40 grams may lead to a mandatory minimum of 24 hours up to 90 days in jail, plus fines.
  • Possession of more than 40 grams is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.

Possession with Intent to Distribute:

  • Class C felony with up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000, along with mandatory fines for first and subsequent offenses.

Sale or Distribution:

  • Selling any amount is a Class C felony with imprisonment and/or a fine, along with mandatory fines for first and subsequent offenses.
  • Distribution by someone over 18 to a person under 18 who is 3 years younger is a Class B felony.

Cultivation:

  • Class C felony for cultivation, carrying up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000, with additional mandatory fines for first and subsequent offenses.

Hash & Concentrates:

  • Possession within certain limits incurs no penalties, but possessing more than 40 grams is a Class C felony with imprisonment and/or fines.
  • Manufacturing or selling hashish or concentrates is also a Class C felony.

Paraphernalia:

  • Advertisement is a misdemeanor, while use for cultivation is punishable by jail time and fines.

Other Penalties:

  • Involving a minor in drug offenses incurs Class C felony charges.
  • Maintaining a structure for drug offenses is also a Class C felony.

Legal Cannabis and Buy Online Alternatives

Although cannabis is legal in many states, hemp-derived THC products are still rising as a noteworthy alternative thanks to their affordability and accessibility. Hemp-derived THC products are federally legal, unlike traditional marijuana products, meaning they can often be ordered online and shipped right to your door. 

Read “Is Delta-8 Legal? A State by State Guide to Delta-8-THC Laws” to learn more about hemp THC laws near you, then check out our Elev8 and Cloud9 Collections.

Vida Optima Cloud9 Delta-9-THC Gummies


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