Yes! Both medical and recreational marijuana are legal in Washington. In 1998, Washington voters passed Initiative 692 (I-692), legalizing medical marijuana in the state. The passage of this initiative legalized the consumption and possession of marijuana by registered medical marijuana patients and licensed caregivers. In 2012, Washington voters approved Initiative 502 (I-502), thus legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. It wasn’t until July of 2014 that recreational marijuana products were officially sold in licensed dispensaries across the Evergreen State.
Buying marijuana in Washington is quite easy with both medical and recreational legalization. You can find plenty of dispensaries across the state and all kinds of quality products for sale.
In Washington, there are certain dispensaries that only serve medical marijuana patients and designated caregivers. However, more and more dispensaries throughout the state continue to expand to serve the needs of recreational marijuana users. In order to purchase recreational marijuana at a licensed dispensary individuals must be at least 21 years old and bring a state identification card or driver’s license Residents under the age of 21 must have a physician-approved medical need in order to legally purchase marijuana in the state.
Over time, more states have moved towards enacting policies that authorize the creation of marijuana delivery services. As of now, there are no legal marijuana delivery services in Washington. Although some people have received marijuana deliveries in the past or are currently receiving deliveries, this is a legal risk that could lead to serious consequences.
In 2018, the Washington State Legislature considered authorizing licensed marijuana retailers to provide home delivery services to both registered medical marijuana patients and designated caregivers. Although the bill (HB 2574) gained momentum, it has since been stalled within legislative committees. However, the state legislature did authorize the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to study options for how to best authorize and implement legal delivery services within the state.
In Washington, there are hundreds of medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries that operate at different times. According to state law, the earliest time Washington dispensaries can open is at 8 a.m. and they can close no later than midnight. However, local governments have the option to restrict these hours further if they wish. For this reason, dispensaries just a few miles apart may have vastly different hours. Check out our Washington dispensary guide to preview store hours before making the drive!
Medical marijuana patients are exempt from state sales tax when purchasing cannabis from a licensed medical dispensary. Medical marijuana patients and designated caregivers can purchase a combination of these products:
Recreational marijuana consumers at least 21 years old are restricted to the following limits when purchasing cannabis products:
In Washington dispensaries, there is a wide variety of cannabis products to choose from that can benefit medical marijuana patients and recreational users alike. At this time, dispensaries in the Pacific Northwestern state can only sell marijuana flower/bud, concentrates, various edible infused products, and paraphernalia like bowls, pipes, bongs, etc.
Unfortunately, Washington dispensaries aren’t allowed to sell any type of branded merchandise such as hats, t-shirts, or sweatshirts.
In Washington, recreational marijuana consumers should expect to pay a hefty excise and sales tax on any marijuana products. It’s mandatory for Washington dispensaries to collect a 37 percent marijuana excise tax on top of state and local sales tax at the time of the sale.
So, if you’re at least 21 years old and you don’t have a Washington medical marijuana card, be prepared to pay a little extra for any cannabis product.
Although the prices of marijuana products may seem high, Washington medical marijuana patients don’t have to pay sales tax on marijuana products. Therefore, one reason to keep your state medical marijuana card is to avoid paying the state’s marijuana sales and excise tax. To avoid taxes when purchasing cannabis, you must show your state-issued medical marijuana card in order for budtenders to waive taxes at the time of purchase.
Medical marijuana patients can purchase and possess larger quantities of marijuana than recreational users. For example, registered medical patients can possess these amounts of marijuana products:
Oppositely, recreational marijuana users are limited to these amounts of product on any given day:
Currently, the only places in which medical marijuana patients and recreational marijuana users can consume marijuana products is on private property. This can either be on their own private property or the property of a friend, neighbor, or relative. Also, it’s possible for some apartment complexes to allow marijuana consumption but it’s highly recommended to check with your landlord beforehand. Even when you are consuming marijuana on private property it must be out of sight from the general public.
Below are several places that do and don’t allow marijuana consumption:
Areas in Washington that DO NOT allow the use of marijuana:
Areas in Washington that DO allow the use of marijuana:
Since marijuana federally illegal in the U.S., it’s strictly prohibited to smoke marijuana on federal lands. If you are caught bringing marijuana onto federal land you may face steep fines or even jail time since marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance.
If you want to medicate before hitting a national park like Palouse Falls State Park or Cape Disappointment State Park, smoke on private property beforehand and then have someone drive you to the location you want to go.
In 1998, Washington state voters passed Initiative 692 (I-692), which legalized medical marijuana. As a result of this groundbreaking move, qualifying medical marijuana patients and designated caregivers were given the right to possess and/or consume various quantities of marijuana products. The victory of I-692 was a significant one, as Washington was one of the first states in the country to enact a medical marijuana program.
In 2010, the Washington legislature approved SB 5798. The approval of this bill gave healthcare professionals other than doctors the right to recommend medical marijuana to various patients.
To apply for and receive a medical marijuana card in Washington, an individual must be a Washington resident and follow the steps below to complete the process:
1. Washington residents who have been diagnosed with any of the state’s qualifying medical conditions must get a medical marijuana authorization form from a healthcare practitioner who can legally recommend marijuana for medicinal purposes
2. The medical marijuana authorization form must be filled out by a healthcare practitioner alongside a patient and/or designated caregiver
3. Qualifying patients must be registered with the state’s medical marijuana authorization database
4. After qualifying patients are added to the database, they can pick up their medical marijuana card from any medically endorsed marijuana business or retailer in the state (cardholders must pay a $1 fee once their card is created.)
Currently, Washington doesn’t have a reciprocity system in place in which out-of-state medical marijuana cardholders can purchase medical marijuana products when visiting the state. Fortunately out-of-state residents at least 21 years old can purchase whichever recreational cannabis products they like. They will, of course, have to pay excise and sales taxes for those products, unlike state medical marijuana patients.
Since marijuana is recreationally and medically legal in Washington, individuals 21 and over can transport marijuana to select locations. For example, medical marijuana patients, designated caregivers and recreational marijuana customers at least 21 years old can purchase products at dispensaries and then transport them back to their homes. Washington state law frowns upon individuals driving around to multiple locations with marijuana products in their vehicles.
Additionally, when transporting marijuana in a vehicle, all products must be placed within a sealed container and stored in a vehicle’s trunk or location that cannot be accessed from the driver's seat. Also, it’s strictly illegal to drive with any open packages or containers of marijuana products.
In all U.S. states, including Washington, it’s illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. In Washington state, they have a legal THC limit similar to a blood alcohol limit.
According to Washington state law, it’s illegal for individuals to drive with 5 nanograms/milliliters of THC or more in their blood if they’re at least 21 years old. If an individual is younger than 21, it’s illegal to drive with any amount of THC in their blood. Blood tests are done at police stations or medical facilities and a licensed professional draws an individuals’ blood.
There’s no reason to drive while high, especially when there are a plethora of ride-sharing methods available that can be accessed simply via phone apps.
Although marijuana is medically and recreationally legal in many U.S. states, it’s illegal to drive across state lines with any marijuana products. Since marijuana is a federally illegal substance, it’s strictly against the law to bring marijuana-infused products into other states. If you’re caught committing this crime, expect to face serious consequences ranging from expensive fines to possible jail time.
In Washington state, if you’re a registered medical marijuana patient or a designated caregiver, you can legally cultivate marijuana on your own private property. Medical marijuana patients and caregivers can grow up to 6 plants in the privacy of their own homes and can possess up to 8 ounces of usable marijuana from the plants they grow. All individuals who choose to cultivate their own marijuana plants must be at least 21 years old and grow their plants in a location that’s hidden from the public.
An added bonus is that licensed healthcare practitioners have the right to approve their patients to cultivate up to 15 marijuana plants or possess up to 16 ounces of usable marijuana generated from plants they grow. Unfortunately, it’s illegal for recreational consumers to cultivate marijuana for personal use. If you wish to cultivate marijuana, you can either become a licensed caregiver or apply for a medical marijuana card.