#washington state laws
Recreational Marijuana in Washington State – A Guide for Visitors
By Angela Brown. Northwest US Travel Expert
Angela loves traveling the Northwest US, learning about new places and activities and sharing what she learns with others. She has been writing about life, travel, and recreation in the Northwest since 2000. Read more
Updated May 19, 2016.
Washington visitors interested in using marijuana products should be aware of the details of the law regarding purchase, possession, and consumption. There are still significant restrictions for pot possession and use, as well as many practical details to be worked out about how the law will actually be implemented. Washington s weed tourism services are still being developed.
Washington State s Initiative 502 (I-502), which decriminalizes recreational marijuana, was voted into law in November 2012. The new law allows the creation of a licensed and regulated system of marijuana production and distribution, similar to the state s liquor controls.
Note: I-502 does not preempt federal law. The production, distribution, sale, possession, and use of marijuana is still against, and may be prosecuted under, US federal law. Marijuana use is also prohibited by most employers.
Here are some things Washington State visitors should know to stay on the right side of state law regarding recreational marijuana.
Where can I buy pot in Washington State?
Cavan Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images
A few licensed retail marijuana shops are now open for business, with more to open in the coming weeks. These shops are devoted only to marijuana and marijuana products and will not sell anything else. Cannabis sampling or consumption is not allowed on the premises. Liquor stores, convenience stores, and other existing businesses will not be allowed to add pot products to their offerings.
Here are some resources to help you find a licensed Washington State cannabis shop:
- Leafly Store Finder
Not only does Leafly provide an interactive map to current marijuana retailers, they provide detailed information about the different strains of weed as well as a nice primer on pot products and use.
- Issued Retail Licenses
Among it s frequently requested listed, the Washington State Liquor Control Board provides a list of marijuana license applicants, including the names, addresses, and phone numbers of active and pending retailers.
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Marijuana Cigarette. (source: iStockphoto)
The short answers is – on private property outside the view of the general public.
How much pot can I possess in Washington State?
If you are 21 years of age or older in Washington State, you will not be prosecuted under state law for the possession or use of
- One ounce of useable marijuana
- Marijuana-related paraphernalia
- 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product
- 72 ounces of liquid marijuana-infused product
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What weed tourism services are currently available in Washington?
The availability of legal weed makes Washington State an even more popular tourist destination. Here are a few of the weed tourism companies currently available:
- Kush Tourism
Guided cannabis tours of Seattle and vacation packages, including several weed-friendly lodging providers around the state.
This company provides daily rental of vaporizers for Seattle visitors .
- Seattle Hempfest Events
In addition to the annual Hempfest festival each August, the Hempfest organization sponsors other special cannabis-themed events.
What is “useable marijuana”?
According to I-502, usable marijuana refers to the dried marijuana flowers.
Vaporizers, also referred to as vape pens or vapor inhalers, have become popular smokeless ways to consume marijuana, but still require useable marijuana .
What is a “marijuana-infused product”?
According to I-502, these are products that contain marijuana or marijuana extracts and are intended for human use . This could include things that you eat or drink, like baked goods, candy, or sodas. The Washington State Liquor Control Board maintains a list of the weed-infused products that are currently approved.
What remains illegal in Washington State, both now and in the future?
Even after I-502 is fully implemented, the following will continue to be illegal under the Washington State recreational marijuana law:
- Possession of amounts above the defined limit
- Possession by a person under the age of 21 years
- Use in view of the general public, including the opening and/or consumption of a marijuana-infused product
- Transportation of marijuana products to another state
- Driving under the influence of marijuana
- Production or sale without a state license
Washington State visitors should be aware that pot use and possession remains a criminal act on federal lands. which includes the national parks and national forests. Tribal lands will also enforce their own policies regarding marijuana use and possession. Some cities have also chosen to outlaw pot-related businesses within their boundaries, so retail marijuana stores might not be readily available in some communities.
More about pot in Washington State
The legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington State is very much a social experiment. Practical details will be worked out over time. Here are some resources where you can gain some insight into the many complicated issues.
Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle
A practical guide to what you currently can and cannot do as I-502 is being implemented, from the Seattle Police Department.
Selling Recreational Marijuana
Individuals interested in producing, distributing, or selling marijuana products in Washington State are subject to strict controls, the details of which are still being worked out and are available through the Washington State Liquor Control Board website .
What about medical marijuana in Washington State?
Medical cannabis is addressed separately in Washington State law – you can find out more at the Washington State Department of Health website. The state of Washington is still working out the details to attempt to consolidate the policies that apply for recreational and medical weed.
While possession and consumption of pot is now legal in Oregon, there are a few important differences between how to two states have implemented recreational marijuana legalization.
- You can not obtain marijuana in one state and transport it into any other state. That includes transportation between Washington and Oregon.
- Oregon allows residents to have up to 4 marijuana plants per residence. Washington does not – the only place to procure recreational pot in a legal manner in Washington is through a licensed retailer.