What are Washington state marijuana laws?


Quick Answer

Washington state marijuana laws allow people who are 21 years and older to possess and use a stipulated amount of marijuana without criminal penalty, reports About.com. Recreational users can buy marijuana and marijuana products only in licensed marijuana shops and must consume them out of public view. Patients registered in the medical marijuana database can grow a limited amount for their personal use, notes the Washington State Department of Health.

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Full Answer

As of 2015, Washington state law stipulates that people age 21 and over can buy 1 ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of solid product containing marijuana or 72 ounces of liquid containing marijuana at licensed retail outlets, explains the Washington State Department of Health. Starting in July 2016, medical marijuana patients can buy significantly larger amounts. Additionally, patients using medical marijuana can grow plants in their homes or in collective gardens. Health care professionals can approve the use of medical marijuana by minors as long as parents or guardians agree and oversee the treatment.

Because marijuana possession and use is illegal under federal law, Washington state law provides for affirmative defense if patients or recreational users face criminal prosecution, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Possession of more than the legal limit, possession by minors, carrying marijuana products from one state to another or driving under the influence of marijuana are all illegal, points out About.com. Although public smoking of marijuana is illegal, punishments may be minimal. For instance, in Seattle, the police department first warns offenders before citing them, and the penalty is a small fine equivalent to the penalty for public consumption of alcohol, explains the Seattle City Council.

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