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Laws Surrounding Cannabis – Using Recreational Marijuana in Washington State

One of the major issues on the November 2012 Washington State ballot was initiative 502, which passed by a very narrow margin. When it passed, initiative 502 legalized recreational marijuana use for adults only, just as any law that focuses on a restricted substance would. It also outlined a regulated system that controls production, and sale of the state’s marijuana supply.

The outlined regulations are very similar to the ones that were in place previously for liquor. Even though the law legalizes recreational use of marijuana, there are a lot of restrictions placed on its use. To ensure that you are following the rules under Washington state law.

It is important to note that initiative 502 does not come before the federal laws surrounding cannabis. It is still against federal laws to produce, distribute, and sell marijuana, and you can still be prosecuted under federal law.

Limitations on Marijuana Use and Purchase 

As Washington state law has outlined, there are somethings you should know to ensure you do not violate the state’s laws in regard to cannabis. Here are some very important points to consider:

  • The initiative restricts the purchase of marijuana to people 21 years of age and older.
  • Any adult purchasing marijuana can only buy up to one weighed ounce of usable marijuana.
  • Marijuana can only be purchased or sold in retail stores that are licensed by the state. No one under the age of 21 is permitted on the premises of these retail stores, and a valid photo identification is required at the time of all purchases. Currently, most of these stores only accept cash payment.
  • Using or consuming marijuana within the view of the public is illegal.
  • It is illegal to use marijuana or be under the influence of marijuana and operate a motor vehicle.
  • It is illegal to take marijuana out of the state of Washington. Doing so can result in serious penalties in Washington state, any state you have entered, and the federal government.

Things Still Illegal After Initiative 502 Is Considered 

After initiative 502 was fully implemented, there are some marijuana related activities and uses that will still be illegal in Washington state. If you plan to use marijuana in the state of Washington, you should take careful note of these items and make sure to follow them carefully.

  • Possessing more than the above outlined amount of each marijuana product
  • Anyone under the age of 21 years of age being in possession
  • Using marijuana in view of the public
  • Transporting marijuana across state lines
  • Producing marijuana without a state license
  • Possession of any amount of marijuana on federal land
  • Some cities have chosen to uphold marijuana being illegal within their boundaries.

Where Can Marijuana Be Purchased 

There are several retail shops authorized to sell marijuana. These stores are devoted solely to selling marijuana and marijuana related products. Preexisting stores will not be allowed to sell these products, or related products. Use of cannabis is not allowed on the premises of these shops.