STATE OF THE STATE: Washington State Marijuana Policy

Always pushing the boundaries of progressive social experimentation, Washington State was one of the first two states to decriminalize marijuana for both medical and recreational possession and use.

Washington State’s Initiative 502 (I-502), decriminalized recreational marijuana, was voted into law in November 2012.

Originally, recreational and medical marijuana were regulated by separate agencies but since 2016 regulation of both medical and recreational marijuana are regulated jointly by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board

To legally possess and use marijuana in Washington State you must be 21 years of age or older.  Users may possess:

• One ounce of usable marijuana
• Marijuana-related paraphernalia
• 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product
• 72 ounces of liquid marijuana-infused product

Washington State residents may not grow marijuana plants in their homes because Washington State law requires police to have 24 hour a day access to a growing facility without a warrant.  However there is an exception for medical marijuana in which case cultivation of plants is limited to medical use:

• Growers must be 21 or older
• Up to four plants can be grown without registration
• Cooperative gardens are allowed
• Registration is recommended but not required

Registered medical marijuana users can purchase cannabis at any retail cannabis outlet holding a medical marijuana authorization. Registered medical marijuana users can purchase any combination of the following:

• Forty eight (48) ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form
• Three (3) ounces of usable cannabis
• Two hundred sixteen (216) ounces of cannabis-infused products in liquid form
• Twenty one grams of cannabis concentrates

As a registered medical marijuana patient, you will also be authorized to grow and possess in your home:

• Up to six (6) plants for personal medical use
• Up to eight (8) ounces of usable cannabis produced from said plants

Washington State has approved medical marijuana for a wide variety of conditions including:

• Cancer,
• Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),
• Multiple sclerosis,
• Epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders.
• Intractable pain,
• Glaucoma,
• Crohn’s disease,
• Hepatitis C,
• 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.

In general legalizing marijuana use has been a good thing for the Evergreen State.  Violent crime and opioid use are down and tax revenues are up.  But it’s not all good news.  So many individuals and enterprises have gotten into the marijuana cultivation and distribution business that the state is suffering from a glut of over production.

In recent years annual production has increased by 60% driving the retail price of an ounce of legal marijuana flower to as low as $40 (in some states the price for an ounce of flower exceed $400).  Both shop owners and producers are seeking changes to Washington’s cannabis regulations.

Medical and recreational marijuana cultivation and distribution is still an industry in its infancy in the U.S.  We will continue to follow its evolution and keep you informed of trends and developments.

A marketing and publishing professional and the Director of Publicity at GB Sciences, Liz Bianco monitors media activity and the “State of the States” on cannabis in America.


 

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