Is weed legal in Washington?

Yes. Under current Washington state marijuana laws, weed is both medically and recreationally legal for patients and adults ages 21 and older to possess and use.

Legislation history

Medical marijuana was legalized in Washington with Initiative 692 (I-692), or the Medical Use of Marijuana Act of 1998, which passed with nearly 60% of the vote. The initiative permitted patients with certain debilitating conditions, terminal illnesses, or intractable pain, to use medical marijuana. I-692 also granted legal protections to qualifying patients and their caregivers for the possession and consumption of medical marijuana.

Initiative 502 (I-502), the Washington Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Initiative, was passed by voters on the statewide 2012 ballot with 55% of the vote. Under I-502 laws and regulations, the state legalized marijuana use and possession for adults 21 and older, and established a regulatory structure for the state's cannabis industry, creating a framework for the production and sale of adult-use marijuana.

Before I-502, cannabis distribution, possession, or use for adult-use purposes was illegal in Washington. The initiative went into effect Dec. 6, 2012, exactly 30 days after its passage and well in advance of the Dec. 1, 2013 requirement. 

Shortly after the state legalized recreational cannabis in 2015, the Washington Legislature passed SB 5052, the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (CPPA), establishing official state regulations for local marijuana businesses, which entails the production, possession, sale, and use of medical marijuana.

I-502 legalized adult-use marijuana production, distribution, possession, and consumption throughout Washington. All licensing and regulation of marijuana falls under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB).

Where is it safe to purchase weed in Washington?

Under current Washington state marijuana laws, adult-use cannabis may be legally purchased only from a state-licensed retailer. Patients and caregivers may also purchase medical cannabis from any state-licensed retailer. Tribal ID cards are valid as identification if they meet the rules laid out by the WSLCB. According to the board's website, tribal enrollment cards may only be used if the following requirements are met: 

  • The Tribe has notified the Board that it intends to use the ID card to purchase marijuana
  • The enrollment card has a photo, a signature, and a date of birth
  • The enrollment card has security features comparable to state Driver's License. 

There is a Washington state marijuana tax for retail consumers. Under state law, all retail marijuana sales are subject to a 37% excise tax, in addition to regular state and local sales tax. Medical patients are not subject to the excise tax or retail sales tax.

Where is it safe to consume cannabis?

It remains illegal to consume marijuana or marijuana-infused products in public view. Cannabis cannot be consumed wherever tobacco smoking is prohibited.

Possessing cannabis

Under Washington state recreational marijuana laws, adults 21 and older can purchase in a single day up to:

  • 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, of usable marijuana
  • 16 ounces, or 454 grams, of cannabis-infused edibles in solid form;
  • 72 fluid ounces, or 2.13 liters, of cannabis in liquid form, and;
  • 7 grams, or a quarter-ounce (0.25 oz), of cannabis concentrates.

Medical marijuana patients may purchase and possess up to:

  •  3 ounces of marijuana, or 85 grams;
  • 48 ounces, or 1.36 kilograms of marijuana-infused products in solid form;
  • 1.69 gallons, or 6.4 liters of marijuana-infused products in liquid form, or; 
  • 21 grams of marijuana concentrate.

Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal and consumption in a vehicle is neither allowed for drivers nor for passengers. Consumers can carry cannabis in their vehicles, but it must be in a sealed container or in the trunk. However, it is illegal to transport any open package or container of cannabis or marijuana-infused products. 

It remains illegal to transport cannabis from across state lines. Washington stipulates that more than 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood is the limit for driving, and a blood test can be performed at a police station or a medical facility. A nanogram is one-billionth of a gram. The state advises waiting at least 5 hours after inhalation to drive, and longer after consuming edibles.

Is home cultivation allowed in Washington?

Cultivation of adult-use cannabis on private property for personal use remains illegal. However, medical patients can cultivate six plants and have 8 ounces of usable marijuana in the home. A health-care practitioner may authorize patients to have up to 15 plants or up to 16 ounces, or 454 grams, of usable marijuana produced from their plants.

Growing cannabis in Washington

Until further notice, the WSLCB is currently not accepting new applications for Washington marijuana growers licenses as of Sep. 03, 2019.

Medical marijuana in Washington

The Washington Legislature in 2015, passed SB 5052, the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (CPPA), establishing official state regulations for the production, possession, sale and use of medical marijuana

Medical cannabis patients are allowed to purchase up to three times the current limits for adult-use marijuana. Only cannabis patients in the authorization database who hold medical marijuana identification cards can purchase products free of sales and use taxes. Medical cards expire each year for adults and every six months for minors, but some authorized health-care providers may specify an earlier expiration date.

Qualifying conditions

  • Anorexia
  • Appetite loss
  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic renal failure requiring hemodialysis
  • Crohn's disease
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Intractable pain
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Nausea
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Spasticity disorders
  • Traumatic brain injury

Petitions for adding more qualifying conditions ended after 2015. Only the Legislature can add eligible conditions.  

Mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, severe depression, and anxiety disorders do not qualify for medical cannabis use.

Application process

1. Patients with a qualifying condition may obtain a Medical Marijuana Authorization form to submit to a health-care practitioner. Washington authorizes the following licensed medical professionals to evaluate patients for a medical marijuana recommendation:

  • Medical doctors (MD)
  • Physician assistants (PA)
  • Doctors of osteopathy (DO)
  • Osteopathic physician assistants (DOA)
  • Naturopathic physicians
  • Advanced registered nurse practitioners (ANRP)

2. Patients must register with the Medical Marijuana Authorization database. A certified medical marijuana consultant can assist patients.

3. Patients may be added to the database and receive their medical marijuana recognition card from any medically endorsed marijuana retailer in Washington.

Designated providers

Patients younger than 18 and adult medical patients can select a designated provider they authorize to purchase marijuana or grow it for them. Designated providers must:

  1. Be at least 21 years old.
  2. Be named on the patient's medical marijuana authorization form.
  3. Complete the form and sign on tamper-resistant paper.
  4. Be entered into the medical marijuana database.
  5. Be the minor's parent or guardian.
  6. Receive a designated provider recognition card, if the patient chooses to be entered into the database.

Lab testing

All marijuana grown and processed in Washington must be tested by a third-party lab testing facility in a multi-step process.

Certified labs must be certified in the following tests by the WSLCB:

  • Foreign matter screening
  • Heavy metal screening
  • Microbial analysis
  • Microbiological screening
  • Moisture
  • Mycotoxin screening
  • Pesticides
  • Potency analysis
  • Residual solvent screening
  • Terpenes

This page was last updated on September 3, 2019.

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on July 19, 2021.