As of last week, residents of Alaska and Washington D.C. have joined the growing numbers of Americans who are enjoying legal recreational Marijuana. As legalization becomes more widespread, it is a good opportunity to remember how the law applies in Washington State.
Since Marijuana was legalized in Washington State in 2012, there has been a lot of attention on the substance, as well as many misconceptions. Just because Marijuana is legal doesn’t mean it is unrestricted. In fact, it remains regulated and controlled and it is important to understand the law.
In Washington State, people 21 and over can possess up to an ounce of Marijuana (usable/dried). People 21 and over may also possess 16 ounces of Marijuana-infused solid products or 72 ounces of Marijuana-infused liquid products.
It is not legal:
- -For anyone under 21 years old to possess Marijuana
- -For people 21 and over to possess greater than one ounce
- -To grow Marijuana
- -To sell Marijuana
- -To smoke or display Marijuana in public
The charges for Marijuana possession depend on the amount you are alleged to possess.
- -If you are alleged to possess more than one ounce but less than 40 grams of Marijuana, you could face Misdemeanor charges with penalties of up to 90 days in jail and fines of $250-500
- -If you are alleged to possess more than 40 grams of Marijuana, you could face Class C Felony charges with penalties of up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000
Possession with intent to distribute Marijuana carries more serious penalties, and you can be charged with intent to distribute or sell even with a small quantity. (RCW 69.50.401)
- -If you are alleged to possess less than 40 grams of Marijuana with intent to sell or distribute, you could face Class C Felony charges with penalties of up to 6 months in prison and fines up to $10,000
- -If you are alleged to possess more than 40 grams of Marijuana with intent to sell or distribute, you could face Class C felony charges with penalties of up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000
There are also specific laws around driving under the influence of Marijuana, in many cases making it easier to be convicted of a Marijuana DUI than it was previously. See our previous blog posting for more information about Marijuana DUI statute and penalty.
If you are charged with a Marijuana related offense, you will need a skilled and knowledgeable attorney to help you reach the best possible defense. These are significant charges and you should not try to tackle them without experienced counsel to advise you appropriately and advocate on your behalf.