Washington Marijuana Possession Laws

Is Possession of Marijuana Legal in Washington?

Yes, possession of marijuana is legal for medical and recreational purposes in Washington. In 1998 Washington voters approved Initiative 692 (I-692) to legalize medical marijuana, and the Washington State Medical Use of Marijuana Act was enacted to permit the use of marijuana to treat qualifying medical conditions. 

Medical marijuana patients registered in the voluntary Washington Medical Marijuana Database may possess up to 1.36 kilograms (48 ounces) of marijuana-infused products in solid form. They may also carry up to 6.1 kilograms (216 ounces) of marijuana-infused products in liquid form, 85 grams (3 ounces) of usable marijuana or 21 grams (0.7 ounces) of marijuana concentrates.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WLCB) regulates recreational and medical cannabis use in the state. 

How Much Weed Is a Felony in Washington?

Possession of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes is legal in Washington. However, the law limits its possession. Erring individuals will face marijuana possession penalties. The amount of marijuana that becomes a felony depends on the quantity and aggravating factors like giving minors marijuana.

  • Possession of more than 28 grams (1 ounce) of marijuana but less than 40 grams (1,4 ounces) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days of incarceration and a $1,000 fine.
  • Possession of more than 40 grams of marijuana is a felony punishable with up to five years of incarceration and a fine of $10,000.
  • It is a felony to give minors any amount of marijuana. Penalties are up to ten years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine.
  • Possessing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, public park, public transportation, or school bus stop is punishable by double fines and imprisonment.

What Are the Penalties for 1st Time Offense of Possession of Weed in Washington?

Washington operates a first-time offender waiver rule for most offenses, including marijuana possession. The rule helps to reduce the penalties for first-time felony convictions. 

  • First-time weed possession offenders may have their penalties waived with conditions.
  • Marijuana possession of less than 40 grams (1.4 ounces) may be penalized with a fine of $250 and drug education. 
  • The court may also suspend the sentence and place the offender on probation which may include paying fines. At the completion of the probation, the marijuana possession record may be expunged from the offender’s criminal records. 

Where to Buy Legal Weed in Washington

Adults aged 21 years and older can buy weed from licensed marijuana retailers in Washington. The Washington Department of Health (DOH) maintains a list of approved medically-endorsed marijuana stores on its website. 

Medical marijuana patients and caregivers (designated providers) can buy marijuana from licensed medically-endorsed marijuana stores. Patients must be 18 years and older to purchase medical marijuana from the stores. 

Eligible persons can purchase no more than: 

  • 28 grams (1 ounce) of usable marijuana. 
  • 448 grams (16 ounces) of marijuana-infused products in solid forms, such as edibles.
  • Two kilograms (72 ounces) of marijuana-infused products in liquid forms like tinctures.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy Weed in Washington

You must be 21 years or older to purchase weed from licensed marijuana stores in Washington. It is illegal to allow persons under 21 years on the premises of marijuana stores. However, persons aged 18 years and above who have authorization letters from health care practitioners or have been registered in the Washington Medical Marijuana Database can purchase marijuana from medically-endorsed marijuana stores. Patients under 18 years cannot buy marijuana by themselves, their designated providers must help them purchase it. 

How Much Weed Can You Carry in Washington?

The Washington adult-use marijuana law permits adults aged 21 years and above to possess one of the following amounts of marijuana:

  • 28 grams (1 ounce) of usable marijuana.
  • 448 grams (16 ounces) of marijuana-infused products in solid forms such as chocolate bars, gummies, and other edibles.
  • Two kilograms (72 ounces) of marijuana-infused products in liquid forms such as tinctures, oils, and cannabis-infused drinks.

The Washington State Medical Marijuana Act stipulates the following marijuana possession limits for medical marijuana patients and their designated providers:

  • 21 grams (0.7 ounces) of marijuana concentrates.
  • 85 grams (3 ounces) of usable marijuana.
  • 1.36 kilograms (48 ounces) of marijuana-infused products in solid form.
  • 6.1 kilograms (216 ounces) of marijuana-infused products in liquid form.
  • 448 grams (16 ounces) of usable marijuana from their home-grown marijuana plants.

What Happens if You Get Caught With Weed Under 18 in Washington?

Persons under 21 years of age (minors) are prohibited from possessing or using marijuana in Washington, except they are medical marijuana patients. A minor caught with marijuana or marijuana-infused products without a medical practitioner’s authorization letter or medical marijuana identification card commits a misdemeanor. 

Penalties for minor-in-possession charges are up to 364 days imprisonment and $5,000 in fines. Furthermore, their driving licenses can be suspended for up to two years. However, the court may reduce the penalty or only issue fines and drug education.

Typically, first-time minor offenders get lesser sentences. The court may issue $250 fines and revoke their driving licenses for 12 months or until they reach 17 years old. Subsequent convictions double the punishments.

  • Minors can be arrested for possessing marijuana paraphernalia such as pipes, grinders, vaporizers, or bongs. Possession of marijuana paraphernalia carries the same penalties as possessing marijuana for minors. 
  • One major consequence for minors convicted of marijuana possession is the potential denial of financial aid for college tuition payments. This is because marijuana is a Schedule I substance with a tendency for abuse and is illegal at the federal level. 
  • Parents or legal guardians of minor marijuana possession offenders can file civil suits against persons who sold, gave, or transferred marijuana to their wards. Their claimed damages may include attorney’s fees, the cost of rehabilitation services, and forfeiture of money made in the transactions.

How Many Marijuana Plants Can You Have in Washington?

Zero or up to 15 plants, depending on the individual’s status. In Washington, growing marijuana in homes for recreational use is illegal. It is a felony offense to cultivate any amount of weed at home and is punishable with up to five years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine. 

However, medical marijuana patients and their designated providers are allowed to cultivate marijuana. A medical marijuana patient or designated provider registered on the voluntary Washington Medical Marijuana Database and with a valid registry identification card can grow up to six marijuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use. 

  • Registered patients can possess up to 227 grams (8 ounces) of usable marijuana produced from their plants. If their physician recommends more marijuana plants, they may grow up to 15 marijuana plants and possess up to 448 grams (16 ounces) of usable marijuana.
  • A medical marijuana patient with authorization from a health care professional but not registered on the state’s medical marijuana database and without a registry card may still grow weed at home. The law permits them to grow up to four marijuana plants for personal medical use and possess up to six ounces (170 grams) of usable marijuana. 
  • A designated provider can only support one medical marijuana patient at a time. They can grow double the limit if they are also medical marijuana patients. Regardless of how many registered medical marijuana patients reside in a house, no more than 15 marijuana plants can be grown in a house.

How Much Weed Can You Fly With from Washington?

Marijuana is illegal at the federal level and is classified as a Schedule I substance with a high potential for abuse. Therefore, it is illegal to travel out of Washington with marijuana either for recreational or medical purposes. All airports in the state prohibit marijuana on their premises.

Is It Illegal to Be High in Public in Washington?

It is legal to be high in public in Washington. Adults aged 21 years and above can consume and smoke marijuana on private properties in Washington. Also, minors who suffer from certain medical conditions and have authorization from medical practitioners can legally consume marijuana. However, using recreational marijuana in public is a civil violation in Washington.

  • It is illegal to drive a vehicle while high. Washington state categorizes driving while high with marijuana as driving under the influence (DUI) offense. 
  • Drivers in Washington can be subjected to sobriety tests by law enforcement officers with probable cause. 
  • State laws prohibit more than 5.00 nanograms of Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration per milliliter of blood for drivers within 2 hours of operating a vehicle in the state. 
  • A person convicted for a marijuana DUI charge faces the same penalties as an alcohol DUI conviction. 
  • Medical marijuana patients can also be convicted of DUI if they drive while impaired. 

Marijuana DUI penalties include a minimum sentence of at least 24 hours in prison and up to 364 days imprisonment. In addition, the court can suspend the offender’s driver's license for at least 90 days and impose fines of between $990.50 and $5,000. There is also a mandatory minimum payment of $200 as compensation to the state for the drug test. It is illegal to have an open marijuana container in a car while driving is illegal. Neither drivers nor passengers can open any marijuana packaging even if the vehicle is stationary.