Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Washington

  1. Washington Cannabis
  2. Washington Medical Marijuana Card
  3. Consequences of Having a MMJ Card in Washington

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Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington

The advantages of having a medical marijuana card in Washington State includes:

Legal Protection

The Revised Code of Washington, Chapter 69.51A.040 (RCW 69.51A.040), protects medical marijuana cardholders from arrest and prosecution for possessing, buying, and using medical marijuana. They are also indemnified for cultivating marijuana for personal use. Washington medical marijuana card is voluntary for patients aged 21 years and older but mandatory for minors. A person under 21 years in possession of cannabis without a Washington medical marijuana card faces up to 90 days of incarceration and fines of up to $1,000.

Lower Prices

Patients registered in the Washington medical marijuana database and possessing medical marijuana cards enjoy lower marijuana prices. They are entitled to reduced sales and use tax when purchasing medical marijuana from medically-endorsed marijuana stores. The percentage reduction is determined by each municipality in Washington.

Higher Purchase and/or Possession Limits

Medical marijuana cardholders in Washington can purchase and possess up to 3 ounces (85 grams) of usable cannabis, 48 ounces of cannabis-infused products in solid form, 216 ounces of marijuana-infused products in liquid form, and 21 grams of cannabis concentrates. These limits are significantly higher than those of recreational marijuana users, who are limited to the following quantities of cannabis:

  • 1 ounce of usable marijuana
  • 16 ounces (453.6 grams) of marijuana-infused products in solid form
  • 72 ounces (2.04 kilograms) of marijuana-infused products in liquid form

Cultivation Rights

Washington allows medical marijuana cardholders to cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their residences. In certain circumstances, some cardholders are allowed to grow up to 15 mature cannabis plants at home. Medical marijuana patients without Washington medical marijuana cards may only grow up to four marijuana plants. Washington prohibits recreational cannabis users from cultivating cannabis at home.

Access for Minors

A Washington medical marijuana card allows a person under 18 years to possess and use marijuana in the state, provided their parent or legal guardian consent to serve as their designated caregiver. It is illegal in Washington for a person under 21 years to possess and use cannabis without a Washington medical marijuana card.


Although Washington does not allow for medical marijuana reciprocity, Washington medical marijuana cardholders can possess and/or buy their cannabis medication from states that allow it. For instance, they can use their medical marijuana cards in Maine, Arkansas, Nevada, Michigan, New Hampshire, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia, Washington DC, and Rhode Island. However, they can only possess as much cannabis as is legally permitted in these states.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington

The following are some of the downsides of owning a Washington medical marijuana card:

Firearm Prohibition

Washington law neither permits nor prohibits ownership of firearms by medical marijuana cardholders. However, the Gun Control Act of 1968 puts the ownership of firearms under federal jurisdiction. According to the Act, controlled substance users, including medical cannabis users, are prohibited from purchasing guns in the U.S. It is illegal for a firearms dealer to sell guns to a marijuana user.

Driving Restrictions

According to RCW 69.51A.060 (8), Washington medical marijuana cardholders are not protected from arrest and prosecution if their use of marijuana endangers others while driving. Washington sets the allowable blood THC limit within 2 hours of driving at under 5 nanograms per milliliter for adults. A patient who is a minor with any amount of THC in the blood system can be charged with driving under the influence. The penalties for driving under the influence in Washington include up to 364 days of jail time, a $5,000 fine, and suspension of driver’s license. Washington medical marijuana cardholders cannot obtain commercial driving licenses (CDLs), as it is federally regulated.

Annual Renewal

Washington medical marijuana cards must be renewed annually. However, medical marijuana cardholders must be physically re-examined by licensed healthcare providers before they can renew their cards, except they are eligible for compassionate care renewal, which allows for examination via telemedicine. The average cost of a healthcare provider consultation fee in Washington is between $100 and $200. In addition, it costs between $1 and $10 to obtain a new medical marijuana card from a medically-endorsed cannabis retail store.

Employment Restrictions

Per RCW 69.51A.060 (7), employers are not required to accommodate or allow the use of medical marijuana in their workplace in Washington. Medical marijuana cardholders can be discriminated against and have their employment terminated for the use of medical cannabis. While a background check will not reveal that an employee possesses a Washington medical marijuana card, a failed employer-mandated drug test can lead to termination of employment. Washington medical marijuana cardholders cannot be federal employees in Washington.

Federal Prohibitions

Medical cannabis cardholders in Washington cannot apply for federal employment. Per RCW 69.51A.06 (5), they are also prohibited from home cultivation of marijuana if they reside in federally subsidized housing units. Federal employees in Washington cannot obtain medical marijuana cards. Otherwise, they risk losing their jobs.

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