Washington Marijuana Laws

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Marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture are regulated by both state and federal law. Until late 2012, non-medical use of marijuana was illegal in Washington, but now adults and medical marijuana patients are allowed to possess and use marijuana under limited circumstances.

To learn about Washington's medical marijuana laws, see Washington Medical Marijuana Laws.

While not covered in this article, it is a crime under certain circumstances to drive under the influence of marijuana in Washington. For information about charges and penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana in Washington, see Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Washington.

Possession

It used to be a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana in Washington. However, with the passage of Initiative 502 in 2012, adults are now free to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for their own private use.

Public marijuana use and possession of more than one ounce is still illegal, as is non-medical cultivation. (Public consumption carries a $100 fine.)

And while state law has changed, it is important to remember that federal law still classifies marijuana as an illegal controlled substance (although personal possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is unlikely to actually draw federal attention).

State penalties for marijuana possession offenses vary according to the amount of marijuana involved in the violation.

  • More than one ounce, but less than 40 grams. Penalties include a fine of between $250 and $500, up to 90 days in jail, or both.
  • 40 grams or more. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to five years in prison, or both.

Sale and Cultivation

Selling or cultivating any amount of marijuana (or possessing marijuana with the intent to do so) is still illegal in Washington, although this will change when Initiative 502 is codified into law. Penalties vary according to the amount sold, with increased penalties for second and subsequent offenses, and for sales near a school or to a minor. (Wa. Rev. Code Ann. § 69.50.401.)

  • Less than 40 grams. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to six months in jail, or both.
  • 40 grams or more. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to five years in prison, or both.
  • Second or subsequent offenses. Someone convicted of a second or subsequent offense will face double the penalties described above. (Wa. Rev. Code Ann. § 69.50.408.)
  • Sales within 1,000 feet of a school or to a minor. An adult who sells marijuana to a minor who is at least three years younger than the adult; or who sells marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, bus stop, public park, or other drug free zone will face double the applicable penalty described above, according to the amount sold. (Wa. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 69.50.435 & 69.50.406.)

Drug Paraphernalia

It is illegal to sell (or possess or manufacture drug paraphernalia with the intent to sell it) or advertise drug paraphernalia in Washington. Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana. Penalties for sales and advertising include a fine of up to $1,000, up to 90 days in jail, or both. Sales to a minor incur a fine of up to $2,000, up to two years in prison, or both. (Wa. Rev. Code Ann. § 69.50.412.)

Additional Information

Follow the links below to get even more information regarding marijuana laws in Washington

The Value of Local Legal Representation

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.

by: , Contributing Author

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