Legal Marijuana in Washington

Legal Marijuana in Washington

Washington State Initiative No. 502 concerning the legalization of marijuana passed by popular vote on November 6, 2012. Washington ballot measures take effect 30 days after the election. Thus, Washington State Initiative No. 502 became effective on December 6, 2012. The full text of the initiative can be reviewed here.

Initiative No. 502 legalizes possession of up to one ounce of usable marijuana by adults over 21 and establishes a licensing process for growers and retailers of marijuana to be administered by the liquor control board.

The initiative also revises the DUI laws to provide for blood tests of individuals believed to be under the influence of marijuana and a per se standard of 5.00 ng/mL of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to establish that a driver is under the influence of marijuana. While there are a number of variables that can impact THC concentrations in the bloodstream, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, THC concentrations will generally fall below 5.00 ng/mL within three hours after smoking. For more information, review the Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheet on cannabis.

Cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana remain illegal under federal law. Washington’s medical marijuana law is unchanged by this initiative. For more details see the ACLU’s informative FAQ. (PDF)