Recreational Marijuana in Washington State

A Guide for Visitors

Close up of cannabis plant
••• Nancy Honey/Getty Images

Washington visitors interested in using marijuana products should be aware of the details of the law regarding purchase, possession, and consumption. There are still significant restrictions for pot possession and use, as well as many practical details to be worked out about how the law will actually be implemented. Washington's weed tourism services are still being developed.

Washington State's Initiative 502 (I-502), which decriminalizes recreational marijuana, was voted into law in November 2012. The law allows the creation of a licensed and regulated system of marijuana production and distribution, similar to the state's liquor controls. 

Note: I-502 does not preempt federal law. The production, distribution, sale, possession, and use of marijuana is still against and may be prosecuted under US federal law. Marijuana use is also prohibited by most employers.

Here are some things Washington State visitors should know to stay on the right side of state law regarding...MORE recreational marijuana.

  • 01 of 10

    Where Can You Buy Pot?

    Two people in a legal marijuana store
    ••• Employees advise clients on the more than twenty strands available at A Greener Today, a popular cannabis store in Seattle. Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images

    A few licensed retail marijuana shops are now open for business, with more to open in the coming weeks. These shops are devoted only to marijuana and marijuana products and will not sell anything else. Cannabis sampling or consumption is not allowed on the premises. Liquor stores, convenience stores, and other existing businesses will not be allowed to add pot products to their offerings.

    Here are some resources to help you find a licensed Washington State cannabis shop:

    • Leafly Store Finder
      Not only does Leafly provide an interactive map to current marijuana retailers, they provide detailed information about the different strains of weed as well as a nice primer on pot products and use.
    • Issued Retail Licenses
      Among it's frequently requested listed, the Washington State Liquor Control Board provides a list of marijuana license applicants, including the names, addresses, and phone numbers of active and pending retailers.
  • 02 of 10

    Where Can You Smoke Pot?

    The short answer is on private property outside the view of the general public.

    Here are more details on where you can and can't smoke marijuana or consume marijuana products in Washington State.

  • 03 of 10

    How Much Pot Can You Possess?

    If you are 21 years of age or older in Washington State, you will not be prosecuted under state law for the possession or use of:

    • One ounce of useable marijuana
    • Marijuana-related paraphernalia
    • 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product
    • 72 ounces of liquid marijuana-infused product
  • 04 of 10

    What Weed Tourism Services Are Available?

    The availability of legal weed makes Washington State an even more popular tourist destination. Here are a few of the weed tourism companies currently available:

    • Kush Tourism
      Guided cannabis tours of Seattle and vacation packages, including several weed-friendly lodging providers around the state.
    • Seattle Hempfest Events
      In addition to the annual Hempfest festival each August, the Hempfest organization sponsors other special cannabis-themed events.
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    What is "Usable Marijuana"?

    According to I-502, "usable marijuana" refers to the dried marijuana flowers.

    Vaporizers, also referred to as vape pens or vapor inhalers, have become popular "smokeless" ways to consume marijuana but still require "useable marijuana."

  • 06 of 10

    What Is a "Marijuana-Infused Product"?

    According to I-502, these are "products that contain marijuana or marijuana extracts and are intended for human use". This could include things that you eat or drink, like baked goods, candy, or sodas. The Washington State Liquor Control Board maintains a list of the weed-infused products that are currently approved.

  • 07 of 10

    What Remains Illegal?

    Even after I-502 is fully implemented, the following will continue to be illegal under the Washington State recreational marijuana law:

    • Possession of amounts above the defined limit
    • Possession by a person under the age of 21 years
    • Use in view of the general public, including the opening and/or consumption of a marijuana-infused product
    • Transportation of marijuana products to another state
    • Driving under the influence of marijuana
    • Production or sale without a state license

    Washington State visitors should be aware that pot use and possession remains a criminal act on federal lands, which includes the national parks and national forests. Tribal lands will also enforce their own policies regarding marijuana use and possession. Some cities have also chosen to outlaw pot-related businesses within their boundaries, so retail marijuana stores might not be readily available in some communities.

  • 08 of 10

    More About Pot in Washington State

    The legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington State is very much a social experiment. Practical details will be worked out over time. Here are some resources where you can gain some insight into the many complicated issues.

    Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle
    A "practical guide" to what you currently can and cannot do as I-502 is being implemented, from the Seattle Police Department.

    Selling Recreational Marijuana
    Individuals interested in producing, distributing, or selling marijuana products in Washington State are subject to strict controls, the details of which are available through the Washington State Liquor Control Board website.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    What About Medical Marijuana?

    Medical cannabis is addressed separately in Washington State law - you can find out more at the Washington State Department of Health website. The state of Washington is still working out the details to attempt to consolidate the policies that apply for recreational and medical weed.

  • 10 of 10

    What About Marijuana in Oregon?

    While possession and consumption of pot is now legal in Oregon, there are a few important differences between how to two states have implemented recreational marijuana legalization.

    1. You can not obtain marijuana in one state and transport it into any other state. That includes transportation between Washington and Oregon.
    2. Oregon allows residents to have up to 4 marijuana plants per residence. Washington does not. The only place to procure recreational pot in a legal manner in Washington is through a licensed retailer.

    Find out more about the recreational marijuana law in Oregon.