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MARIJUANA: THE LEGAL REALITY - FAQs Part I

How Much Marijuana is Legal to Posses (Age 21+)?

One Ounce (28.3 grams) or less of Marijuana.

Is the Possession, Use, or Sale of Marijuana and Related Paraphernalia Still Illegal?

No, the possession, use, and sale of marijuana are no longer Illegal. However, the sale of drug paraphernalia is illegal when sold for drug usage other than marijuana.

What if I am in Possession of Marijuana Over the Legal Limit?

Possession between 28.3 grams and 40 grams is a misdemeanor crime. Possession over 40 grams is a Class C Felony.

What if I am Under 21 Years of Age?

No person under 21 may have possession of marijuana. Possession under 21 is a crime.

What if a person under 21 Possesses drug paraphernalia (for marijuana use)?

The Washington State Amendments (RCW 69.50.412 and RCW 69.50.4121 do not prohibit persons under 21 from the possession of marijuana paraphernalia. However, the persons under 21 cannot possess any amount of marijuana.

Is the Manufacture and Distribution of Marijuana a Crime?

Yes, it is still a felony crime. However, the Liquor and Control board have developed specific regulations to regulate and license producers, processors, and retailers. To distribute and manufacture, a person must have a valid license issued by the Washington State Liquor and Control Board.

Is the Legal Amount Different for Patients or Providers in Possession of Marijuana?

Yes. Under Washington’s code (RCW 69.15A.040), a patient or licensed provider may possess up to 15 cannabis plants and up to 24 ounces of usable marijuana. This includes marijuana product that could reasonably be produced with 24 ounces or less of usable marijuana.

If a person has a combination of usable marijuana and cannabis product, the amount combined cannot exceed 24 grams of usable cannabis.

However, if the person is both a user of medical marijuana and a distributor for another patient, the person may possess no more than twice the amounts above.

What if an Officer Catches Me Smoking in a Public Park?

It is unlawful t open a package with marijuana in the general public. A person in violation is guilty of a class 3 civil infraction under chapter RCW. 7.80 et. Seq.

What if I am Smoking in My Parked Car When an Officer Observes Me?

If an Offer observes a person using marijuana from a lawful area, and the vehicle is on a public roadway, the officer may issue an infraction from consumption of marijuana in public. A person sitting in a car that is parked in a public area does not have a reasonable expectation to
privacy.

What if an Officer Observes Me Smoking Marijuana While Operating a Vehicle?

The officer is allowed to stop you based on a reasonable suspicion that you, as the driver may be impaired from marijuana use. However, the officer will have to be able to articulate specific facts to the reasonable suspicion that you were smoking marijuana. Even if your driving was not impaired, an officer can still cite you for public consumption of marijuana.

What if an Officer Stops a Car and Smells the Marijuana, is there Probable Cause to Seek a Warrant to Search the Car?

No. However, if there are other articulable facts, the officer can use those in conjunction with the odor to search the car for an illegal amount of marijuana.

What if an Officer Stops a Car and Smells the Marijuana, is there Probable Cause to Arrest a Driver?

Not if the driver lacks signs of impairment. The driver as to display other indicators of marijuana impairment such as, erratic driving.

What if an Officer Stops a Car, Smells Marijuana, Observes Signs of Impairment and the Driver Refuses Field Sobriety Tests or a Blood Draw?

The officer can arrest the driver on probable cause for a criminal offense. The officer can get a warrant for your blood draw.

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