Washington, coincidentally nicknamed The Evergreen State has become one of the most cannabis-friendly areas of the country. Medicinal cannabis has been legal since 1998 and on Nov. 3, 2012, Washington residents voted to legalize recreational cannabis. The general attitude towards the herb is very relaxed, especially in the Seattle area. Every August, when Seattle hosts the iconic Hempfest, you will see the Seattle Police cruising around on bicycles handing out munchies along with the laws about cannabis use in the state of Washington.
Initiative 502 is the law passed that allows for the cultivation and recreational use of weed for individuals 21 and up. In the years since legalization, a significant number of legal recreational cannabis shops have appeared all over Washington – here is a map to find one near you. Shop at one of these stores to ensure that your purchases are legal. You can also examine the packaging of your pot products to ensure legality – each legal item will be clearly labeled with the total THC percentage. Edibles serving sizes will not exceed 10-milligram serving sizes. You should always be able to receive a receipt following your purchase at a recreational store.
There are limits to how much cannabis you can purchase and possess at one time. You can only hold one ounce of cannabis flower (28 grams), 7 grams of extract for inhalation, 16 ounces of infused product in solid form, or 72 oz. in beverage form for both edibles and topicals.
If you drive after smoking cannabis, you can be arrested and convicted of a DUI, so do not get behind the wheel if you have partaken. Washington has a legal limit of 5 Nanograms/mL of blood and it applies in a similar fashion to the .08 Blood Alcohol Content test. Seattle has a lot of public transportation, and you can always call a cab or use Uber/Lyft. Transporting weed across state lines is illegal and strongly discouraged.
The best advice we can give for tourists looking to partake in the cannabis culture is discretion. It’s best to keep your cannabis use out of public areas, but if you must smoke out in the open, a discreet vape pen is your best option.
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Is cannabis legal in Washington?
Yes, medical and recreational cannabis use is legal in Washington. You must be over the age of 21 to purchase or have a medical cannabis card from a licensed doctor. Med cards must be prescribed in Washington. If you find yourself in a pinch with the law. Can I get my Medical Card if I am not a Washington Resident?
Unfortunately not, but tourists can get a medical card in Oregon. Don’t worry though, the products are virtually the same in Washington. The only difference is the tax rate.
What do you need to purchase cannabis in a licensed cannabis shop?
All you need is any valid form of government-issued identification, from anywhere in the world, proving that you are over the age of 21.
What types of cannabis will the stores sell?
You will see a number of different flower strains categorized by their strains ranging from strong Indicas to strong Sativas and everything in between. Each strain can have different effects so be sure to ask the budtender for assistance in choosing the best cannabis for you. Strong Sativas strains are known for their general uplifting, energizing, and head high effects while Indicas are known for their full body highs and sedative effects.
Recreational cannabis stores will also sell a number of other types of cannabis products, including but not limited to:
- Concentrates essential oils of the cannabis plant. Warning: these can be very potent!
- Edibles: Cannabis-infused foods, candies, or drinks. Warning: These can be very potent! Be sure to check the serving size before enjoying and remember the effects can take up to an hour to hit you.
- Transdermal Products: creams, lotions, massage oils, and such infused with cannabis. These products are not psychoactive and will not get you high.
Where can I buy cannabis Seeds in Seattle?
Unfortunately, you cannot buy cannabis seeds in Seattle or anywhere in Washington through legal retail stores. Mail-order seed companies do operate in the US & Canada, but their legal status remains in the grey / black market realm.
How much will it cost?
Legal cannabis in the state of Washington is going to be reasonable, between $7 and $25 a gram depending on the quality and strain. The Washington government started with an extremely expensive tax system that charges a 25% excise taxes each step of the way from producer to processor to retailer, and an additional sales tax of 9.5% to the consumer. Once the industry matured, they dropped that tax down to around 37% at the retail level only which makes it affordable at the retail level.
Where can I buy it?
Although you cannot buy cannabis at gas stations or liquor stores just yet, you can buy it at any state-licensed store. For a list and map of current locations check out our Retail Shop Guide! If you do not have a medical card, you cannot buy it from Medical cannabis Dispensaries.
How much cannabis can I buy?
The state law has capped the legal amount you can purchase and possess at any one time depending on the type of product:
- Flower: One Ounce (28 Grams)
- Extracts and Concentrates: 7 grams of extract for inhalation
- Edibles: 16 oz. of infused product in edible form or 72 oz. in beverage form
- Topicals: 16 oz. of infused topical product in solid form or 72 oz. in liquid form
Can I buy edible cannabis products in Washington?
Yes! Of course, you can! Though there are a few caveats regarding these. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has tried to take as many steps as possible to ensure that edibles are not overly enticing to children, so some products will not be legally produced, such as gummy candies, and others. Also, the packaging on edible wrappers must not look too much like a non-infused candy product, otherwise, it could be easily confused. With that being said, go get some chocolates, mints, teas, capsules, or anything else you could dream up! Enjoy!
Can I take cannabis home if I live in another state or country?
No. All cannabis and cannabis products purchased in Washington must be consumed in Washington.
Where can I consume my recent purchase?
Legally, you can only consume cannabis in private or you risk a civil penalty of $100. In the city of Seattle, the fine for public consumption is $27. It is common to see citizens consuming cannabis in public in Seattle, particularly at events like Hempfest.
We do not recommend breaking the law, but just walking around in downtown Seattle you will most likely see someone violating the public consumption law. The Seattle Police Department has placed cannabis violations as one of their lowest priorities.
How Many Cannabis Plants Can I Grow in Washington?
Sadly, without a producer/processor license from the state – which is NOT easy to get, you are not legally allowed to grow any cannabis whatsoever in Washington state. Licensed producers/processors even must take extra precautions to ensure that no seeds make it into batches that go out to the public to try to prevent anyone from easy access to growing illegally. It would be nice if the state would allow for home cultivation like many of the other legal rec states do, but c’est la vie. We’ll live to smoke another day!
What is a dab?
Dabs are often compared to the hard liquor of the cannabis world and can be found in many forms. Dabs are the essential oils and waxes of the cannabis plant that are extracted and concentrated into a potent wax form. They are known for their high concentration of THC. Smoking a dab is much stronger than smoking flowers. If you are not a regular cannabis consumer with a high tolerance, we recommend using extreme caution.
If you’re considering purchasing or doing a dab, it is also important to know what is in the essential oil being offered or sold and if it is safe. Many extracts may not have been purged correctly and may contain residual amounts of butane or other solvents. CO2 oil is often noted as the safest oil because critical extraction machines that use CO2 as the only solvent extract it.
Will using a topical going to get me stoned?
No, topicals do not have a psychoactive effect. They are used for localized relief of inflammation, pain, or soreness. Do not confuse topicals with transdermal patches though.