Washington boasts bold beauty as the northernmost state of the Pacific Northwest. There are snow-capped mountains, lush forests, misty coastlines, and evergreens for days. Perhaps that’s why we call it the Evergreen State. Although, as one of the leading pioneers in ending cannabis prohibition, there is plenty of green to go around. Here’s everything you need to know about getting high in Washington.
Is Weed Legal in Washington? Straight to the point.
- Recreational THC: Yes
- Medical THC: Yes
- CBD: Yes
- Delta-8: No
Medical Weed Laws
Washington legalized medical marijuana in 1998 when voters approved Initiative 692, also known as the Medical Use of Marijuana Act. To become a medical marijuana patient in Washington, you need to follow these steps. First, schedule an appointment with your healthcare practitioner. During this appointment, your practitioner will evaluate your medical condition and determine if you qualify for medical marijuana use.
If they determine that you do, they will provide you with medical cannabis authorization. The next step is to visit a medically-endorsed store to obtain a medical cannabis card. With this card, you will be able to purchase medical marijuana products sales tax-free. Cards must be renewed annually.
Qualifying conditions include:
- Cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders.
- Intractable pain, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean pain unrelieved by standard medical treatments and medications.
- Glaucoma, either acute or chronic, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean increased intraocular pressure unrelieved by standard treatments and medications.
- Crohn’s disease with debilitating symptoms unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
- Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
- Diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
- Chronic renal failure requiring hemodialysis.
- Posttraumatic stress disorder.
- Traumatic brain injury.
Patients are allowed to possess up to three ounces of usable marijuana, 24 ounces of solid marijuana-infused products, and 216 ounces of liquid marijuana-infused products. Patients can grow up to 15 plants at their residences for personal use.
Recreational Weed Laws
Washington legalized marijuana for recreational use by passing Initiative 502 on November 6, 2012. The law went into effect on December 6, 2012, allowing individuals 21 years and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of usable marijuana. The sale and taxation of marijuana is regulated by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.
Growing marijuana at home for personal use is still illegal, and of course, it is still illegal to consume marijuana in public or drive under the influence of marijuana. In fact, the law sets a blood limit for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, of five nanograms per milliliter.
Is Weed Decriminalized in Washington?
Cannabis has largely been decriminalized in Washington state due to recreational legalization. However, consuming in public remains illegal and can carry fines and civil penalties. See below for more information.
Cannabinoid variants include popular options like CBD, Delta-8, and THC-O. These hemp-derived cannabinoid products are produced outside of the licensed and regulated channels and come with varying laws. The 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp production has opened up many doors and several legal gray areas.
Is CBD legal in Washington?
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production in the United States. This legislation opened up vast possibilities for CBD-rich hemp to enter the mainstream market, allowing consumers to purchase CBD in retail establishments and online. CBD is often found in supplements, topicals, edibles, portable vape pens, home goods, and beauty and body care products.
The Farm Bill legally protects CBD production, but it is not without stipulation. All commercially available CBD products must be derived from hemp and contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, some states have elected to regulate CBD independently and may have further restrictions on its use and distribution. CBD is legal in Washington.
Is Delta-8 legal in Washington?
Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring phytocannabinoid found in hemp and marijuana. It offers a similar (yet less potent) high than Delta-9 THC and is found in many online shops selling hemp-derived cannabinoids. In 2021, the Liquor and Cannabis Board no longer allowed marijuana license holders to produce and sell Delta-8 products.
Is Delta-10 legal in Washington?
Delta-10 is similar to Delta-8 and therefore falls under the same restrictions. Washington state does not allow Delta-10 or other THC isomers to be sold.
Are THC-O and other THC variants legal in Washington?
In recent years, alternative hemp-derived cannabinoids have dominated the market as a more accessible way to get high. However, they have existed in a legal gray area until February 2023.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared Delta-8-THC-O and Delta-9-THC-O illegal controlled substances. These compounds are not naturally occurring in either hemp or marijuana and are considered synthetic cannabinoids.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its byproducts so long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by volume. The market for cannabinoids has grown in the states since then as several alternative cannabinoids emerged, including synthetic THC isomers.
For the time being, this latest update does not affect alternative cannabinoids like THC-JD, THC-P, THCP-O, THC-H, and THC-B because they do exist naturally in trace amounts. Advocates feel that only the end of the federal prohibition on marijuana will successfully regulate synthetic or naturally occurring cannabinoids.
Are HHC and HHC-O legal in Washington?
Although HHC and HHC-O are semi-synthetic cannabinoids, they are still categorized much like Delta-8 and THC-O and are not allowed in Washington.
Medical marijuana cardholders are allowed to grow up to 15 plants for personal use at their home residence. Recreational consumers may not grow for personal use at this time and can only obtain cannabis from a licensed dispensary.
There are three tiers of cannabis production licenses in Washington state, but there are currently no available licenses. To learn more about the program and stay up to date on any changes, view the details here.
Where to Buy Weed in Washington
Looking for weed in Washington? Here are your options.
Washingtonians have over 400 dispensaries to choose from, but recreational customers can expect to pay a 37% sales tax on all cannabis products.
At this time, no commercial cannabis is legal in Washington
Direct to Consumer
Direct-to-consumer sales are often supported with the help of delivery partners. Since cannabis delivery has not yet been activated in Washington, direct-to-consumer sales are not happening here.
Despite legalization efforts, the marijuana black market remains active. The illegal purchase of weed from a black market dealer comes with serious risks. Not only is it difficult to determine the potency and purity of the product, but the legal implications can be disastrous. In some cases, a mere slap on the wrist, but in others, buying weed illegally results in jail time or a prison sentence. For those that live in a state with a medical or recreational marijuana program, it’s best to obtain cannabis through legal channels.
Where can you smoke weed in Washington?
You can smoke weed in the privacy of your own home or with permission in another private residence.
Can you smoke weed in public in Washington?
Public consumption of marijuana is illegal in Washington.
When was weed legalized in Washington?
Medical marijuana was legalized in 1998, with recreational marijuana joining the party in 2012.
Punishment for Illegal Acts FAQ
What are the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed?
Selling any amount of cannabis is illegal in Washington. Gifting is only allowed from one adult to another with no exchange of money, and it must be within legal possession limits. Learn more about the details and penalties here.
What is the penalty for selling to a minor?
Selling cannabis to a minor in Washington is a felony with up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. If the sale occurs within 1000 feet of a school or anywhere designated a drug-free zone, the fines and penalties double.
What is possession with the intent to sell?
If you have more cannabis than you can reasonably consume, it is considered possession with intent to sell. This is a Class C felony and can lead to fines up to $10,000 and 5 years in prison. Subsequent offenses will garner harsher punishments.
When is possession still a crime?
Possession is a crime if you are carrying more than the legal limits or are suspected of intent to distribute.