About this Guide
The following information has been sourced from a brochure produced by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. It is intended to provide basic facts about the law and consumer safety. For more consumer-related information, please visit LearnAboutMarijuanaWA.org.
Age Limit: Only adults 21 and older can purchase and possess marijuana for recreational use.
Stores: Marijuana can only be sold and purchased at state-licensed retail stores. A valid photo ID is required, and no one under 21 is allowed on the retail premises. Many retail marijuana stores only accept cash.
Driving: It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, and doing so may result in significant legal penalties.
Purchase Limits: Recreational consumers can purchase up to one ounce of useable marijuana (the harvested flowers, or “bud”), 16 ounces of marijuana-infused edibles in solid form, 72 ounces in liquid form, and 7 grams of marijuana concentrates.
Travel: It is illegal to take marijuana outside of Washington. Doing so may result in significant legal penalties.
Public Use: It is illegal to consume marijuana in public.
Growing: It is illegal to grow your own marijuana unless you are an authorized medical patient. Doing so may result in significant legal penalties.
No Resale or Giveaways: It remains a felony for anyone but a licensed retailer to sell or provide marijuana to anyone else. Providing or selling marijuana to a minor under the age of 18 is subject to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Read the labels, go slowly, and don’t hesitate to ask questions when purchasing. Marijuana edibles are often made with concentrated cannabis oil, meaning they may be much stronger than edibles you have tried in the past. Depending on your body type, edibles can take up to two hours to fully take effect and may impair your ability to drive, work, or operate machinery safely for a longer period of time. Be careful; start with a 5 mg serving or less. Don’t take more until you wait a full two hours. Most importantly, keep edibles away from children and pets.
Marijuana concentrates come in a number of varieties: oils, hashes, waxes, kief, shatter, and amber glass. It is made by extracting THC from the marijuana plant. These products may contain up to 90 percent THC, increasing the risks of an unpredictable high and negative physical and emotional reactions. They have a quick effect, so begin with a very small amount.
Vaping devices work similarly to electronic cigarettes by heating bud or hash oil to release the active ingredients without burning. Be careful and go slowly when using, especially with concentrated cannabis oils because of the potency. While vaping may have fewer health risks than smoking, there have not been sufficient studies to draw firm conclusions about safety.
Driving, Boating and DUI
It is illegal to drive a vehicle or operate a boat under the influence of marijuana, and doing so may result in significant legal penalties.
THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Similar to the 0.08 blood-alcohol limit, it is illegal to drive with 5 ng/ml of THC or more in your blood if you are 21 or older. If you are under 21, it is illegal to drive with any amount of THC in your blood. THC concentration is determined by a blood test which is performed at a police station or medical facility and requires a blood draw.
Be advised that you can still be cited for DUI under 5 ng/ml if you are displaying signs of impairment. It is less risky to wait at least 6 hours or longer before operating a vehicle. Keep in mind that edible marijuana products can remain in your system much longer.
In addition to DUI it is also illegal to have an open package of marijuana or marijuana-infused product within the area occupied by the driver and passengers.
If you are not sure whether you are impaired, do not drive! Call a taxi or use a designated driver.
Where to Consume
Private vs. Public
Washington State law protects private marijuana use, so you can consume openly in a residence as long as the property owner allows it. It is illegal to consume marijuana in public. This includes streets, sidewalks, parks (including state and federal), public hiking trails, and ski resorts.
As with tobacco, smoking marijuana in any indoor location is subject to the restrictions in the Washington Smoking in Public Places Law (RCW 70.160). The law prohibits smoking in a public place or place of employment. If the establishment permits it and you are either vaporizing or staying in a room in which smoking is allowed, it is legal to consume marijuana in a private hotel room.
WARNING: Marijuana remains illegal under federal law
Federal authorities may enforce federal law anywhere within Washington. They especially may choose to do so on federal property (including national parks and forests, federal buildings, and military bases); on navigable waters; and at or near the Canadian border, the coast, airports, and seaports.
Federal authorities may choose to seize marijuana. They also may choose to pursue federal criminal prosecution, particularly in situations involving the presence of firearms, minors acquiring marijuana, interstate transport, and/or large quantities of marijuana