Washington – Laws & Penalties

Offense Penalty Incarceration   Max. Fine

Possession

Personal Use

1 oz or less (private possession/consumption) No Criminal Penalty None $ 0
1 oz or less (public consumption) Civil Penalty None $ 100
1 oz – 40 g Misdemeanor 24 hours* – 90 days $ 1,000
More than 40 g Felony 5 years $ 10,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence

With intent to distribute

Any amount Felony 5 years $ 10,000

Sale or Distribution

Any amount Felony 5 years $ 10,000
To a minor at least 3 years younger Felony 10 years $ 10,000
Within 1000 ft of a school, school bus stop or in a public park, in a public housing project designated as a drug-free zone, in public transportation, and other locations is punishable by double fines and imprisonment.

Cultivation

Any amount Felony 5 years $ 10,000
Within 1000 ft of a school, school bus stop or in a public park, in a public housing project designated as a drug-free zone, in public transportation, and other locations is punishable by double fines and imprisonment.

Hash & Concentrates

16 oz or less marijuana-infused product solid form No Criminal Penalty None $ 0
72 oz or less marijuana-infused product liquid form No Criminal Penalty None $ 0
7 g marijuana concentrate No Criminal Penalty None $ 0
Possession of more than 40 g Felony 5 years $ 10,000
Manufacture, sale, delivery or possession with intent Felony 5 years $ 10,000
Subsequent offenses carry greater penalties.
Patients may possess hash and concentrates for medical use. See details section.

Paraphernalia

Advertisement Misdemeanor 24 hours* – 90 days $ 1,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Civil Asset Forfeiture

Vehicles and other property may be seized.

Miscellaneous

Knowingly maintaining a structure used for drug offenses Felony 5 years $ 10,000
Controlled substances homicide Felony 10 years $ 20,000
Parents of a minor to whom a controlled substance was sold or transferred have a cause of action against the seller.
Juveniles will have their driving privileges revoked.

Penalty Details

Marijuana is a Schedule I hallucinogenic substance under the Washington Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

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Possession for Personal Use

The adult possession, in private, of up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use (as well as the possession of up to 16 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form) is not subject to criminal or civil penalty. The public consumption of marijuana is subject to a civil violation and fine. Any consumption of cannabis while one is in a moving vehicle is defined as a traffic infraction. Traffic safety laws further require that the possession of cannabis in a moving vehicle must be located in a sealed container in either the trunk, glove compartment, or some other area that is inaccessible to the driver or passengers.

Possession of one ounce to 40 grams is a misdemeanor, punishable by a mandatory minimum of 24 hours and maximum of 90 days in jail. A mandatory fine of $250 is imposed for the first offense, and a mandatory fine of $500 is imposed for the second or subsequent violations. This is in addition to a possible fine up to $1,000. The imprisonment will not be suspended or deferred unless it is determined that it “will pose a substantial risk to the defendant’s physical or mental well-being or that local jail facilities are in an overcrowded condition.” The mandatory fine may not be suspended or deferred unless the defendant is found to be indigent.

Possession of more than 40 grams is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000. An additional mandatory $1,000 fine applies to first time offenses and a $2,000 fine to second or subsequent offenses.

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Possession with Intent to Distribute

Possession with intent to distribute any amount of marijuana is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000. There is an additional mandatory fine of $1,000 for the first offense and $2,000 for a second or subsequent offense.

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Sale or Distribution

Retail sales of cannabis by state-licensed entities to those over the age of 21 are regulated in this state. Marijuana sales by unlicensed entities remain subject to criminal penalties.

Sale or distribution of any amount of marijuana is a C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000. An additional mandatory fine of $1,000 applies to first offenses and $2,000 fine to second or subsequent offenses.

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Distribution by a person aged 18 years or older to a person less than 18 years who is 3 years the distributor’s junior is a class B felony punishable by an imprisonment term double that for sale (10 years total) and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

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Cultivation

Cultivation for either personal use or distribution is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000. An additional mandatory fine of $1,000 applies to first offenses and $2,000 to second or subsequent offenses.

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Hash & Concentrates

Washington’s definition of marijuana includes “all parts of the plant Cannabis,” including “the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin.” Under this definition hashish or concentrates, which are compounds made from the resin of the plant, would be considered marijuana.

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Possession of 16 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form; 72 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form; or 7 grams of marijuana concentrate is not subject to criminal or civil penalty.

Possession of more than 40 grams of hashish or concentrates is a class C felony punishable by a term of imprisonment no greater than 5 years and/or a fine no greater than $10,000.

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Manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, hashish or concentrates is a class C felony punishable by a term of imprisonment no greater than 5 years and/or a fine no greater than $10,000.

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Selling hashish or concentrates is a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment no greater than 5 years and a fine no greater than twice the value of the hashish or concentrates. Subsequent offenses for selling hashish or concentrates is a crime punishable by a mandatory term of imprisonment for 5 years and a fine no greater than twice the value of the hashish or concentrates.

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Hashish and concentrates can be used medically in Washington since hashish and concentrates are considered a marijuana product.

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Selling, manufacturing, transferring, or possessing with intent to manufacture, sell, or transport hashish or concentrates within designated areas is a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment no greater than 10 years and/or a fine no greater than $20,000 or four times the value of the hashish or concentrates. There is an affirmative defense available allowing the accused to prove that the offense was entirely within a private residence. The designated areas are:

 

  • within schools;
  • within 1,000 feet of school grounds
  • within school buses;
  • within 1000 feet of a school bus stop;
  • within public parks;
  • within public housing projects designated drug free zones;
  • within -public transit vehicles
  • at a public transit stop center;
  • within civic centers designated drug free zones;
  • within 1,000ft of any civic center designated a drug free zone.

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Paraphernalia

Advertisement of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by a mandatory minimum of 24 hours and maximum of 90 days in jail and a fine of not more than $1,000.

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Sale or giving of drug paraphernalia is also a class I civil infraction punishable by a $250 fine.

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Sentencing

Drug offenses are sentenced according to drug offense seriousness level and a drug offense sentencing grid.

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First time marijuana offenders may have the imposition of the standard sentence waived with conditions. For violations which involve a small amount of drugs (as determined by the judge), the offender may have the standard sentence waived in lieu treatment or a prison-based alternative.

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Suspension of sentencing is available for all drug offenses, at the discretion of the court. Conditions to this probation may include paying fines and reporting to a probation officer.

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Any person convicted of a second or subsequent offense is subject to double the term of imprisonment authorized for the offense and double the fine authorized for the offense. However, this does not apply to certain possession offenses. A second or subsequent offense is any offense of this statute committed by a person with a prior conviction under this statute or any statute of the United States or any state relating to narcotics, marijuana, depressants, hallucinogens, or stimulants.

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Forfeiture

Criminal

Vehicles and other property may be seized for violations of the Washington Uniform Controlled Substances Act if certain conditions are met. A seizure of property commences a forfeiture proceeding in which the law enforcement agency must give notice to the owner and others with an interest in the property within 15 days. After notice has been served, those with an interest in the property have 45 days in the case of personal property and 90 days in the case of real property to respond, or else the items will be deemed forfeited.

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Civil

Private or state actors may file an action for damages and forfeiture of property involved in delivery, cultivation, or possession with intent to deliver or cultivate marijuana.

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Miscellaneous

Involving a person under the age of 18 in a drug offense

Involving a person under the age of 18 (compensating, soliciting, or threatening) in a transaction to cultivate, sell, or deliver marijuana is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000. An additional mandatory fine of $1,000 applies to first offenses and $2,000 to second or subsequent offenses.

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Knowingly maintaining a structure used for drug offenses

It is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000 to knowingly maintain a structure (including homes and vehicles) that is resorted to by persons using controlled substances in violation of the law for that purpose, or which is used to sell or store substances. An additional mandatory fine of $1,000 applies to first offenses and $2,000 to second or subsequent offenses.

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Civil damages

Parents or legal guardians of a minor to whom a controlled substance was sold or transferred have a cause of action against the person who sold or transferred the substances. Damages may include costs of rehabilitation services for the minor, forfeiture of any money made in the transaction, and attorney’s fees.

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Controlled substances homicide

A person who delivers a controlled substance, which is subsequently used by the person delivered to and results in their death, is guilty of a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $20,000. An additional mandatory fine of $1,000 applies to first offenses and $2,000 to second or subsequent offenses.

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Revocation of juvenile’s driving privileges

Juveniles (age 13-21) will have their driving privileges revoked for any offense under this statute. For the first offense, the privileges will be revoked for 1 year or until the person reaches 17 years old, whichever is longer. A second or subsequent offense will result in the revocation of privileges for 2 years or until the individual is 18 years old, whichever is longer.

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Violations committed on or in certain public places or facilities

Cultivation, sale, delivery, or possession with intent to cultivate, sell, or deliver marijuana in a school, on a school bus, within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop or school grounds, in a public park, in a public housing project designated as a drug-free zone, in public transportation, and other locations is punishable by a fine that is twice that authorized for the offense and/or imprisonment for a term that is twice the amount authorized for the offense. It is an affirmative defense that the conduct took place exclusively within the confines of a private residence and the transaction did not involve profit.

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Chemical dependency

If the court finds that the offender is chemically dependent and this has contributed to their offense, the court may order the offender take part in rehabilitation.

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Mandatory Fee

Any individual convicted, sentenced to a lesser charge, or given deferred prosecution under WA’s DUID statute must pay a $200 fee to compensate the State for the drug test, in addition to any fine imposed by the Court. This fee applies to each individual conviction but may be waived for poverty.

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Conditional Release

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual’s criminal record does not reflect the charge.

Drugged Driving

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. Further information about cannabinoids and their impact on psychomotor performance is available here. Additional information regarding cannabinoids and proposed per se limits is available here.

Hemp

This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. For more information see NORML’s Industrial Use section.

Legalization

This state has legalized marijuana for personal use.

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to “life MMS” must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see NORML’s Medical Marijuana section.