Marijuana + Washington State Law

It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to:

  • Possess and/or use marijuana
  • Drive while under the influence of marijuana
  • Use marijuana in public places

It is illegal for adults to provide marijuana to minors. It is also illegal for parents to provide marijuana to their children.

Adults age 21 or older can legally use marijuana and possess up to:

  • 1 oz. of useable marijuana, or
  • 16 oz. of marijuana-infused products in solid form (like cookies or brownies) or
  • 72 oz. of marijuana-infused products in liquid form (such as juice or tea)


Marijuana + Federal Law

Marijuana use for medical purposes has been legal in Washington since 1998. Doctors determine if marijuana is medically necessary for a patient. Patients then use marijuana or marijuana-infused products to treat a disease or symptom.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved marijuana as medicine.

A medical marijuana user risks the same health consequences from marijuana that a recreational user does.

Ask MMJ folks for medical pre-21 laws.


Marijuana Effects & Consequences


Marijuana has more than 400 chemicals, including THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the main active chemical in marijuana. It’s what causes a person to feel “high.” Marijuana is becoming more and more potent, meaning there is more THC in it. For frequent users, exposure to high doses of THC on a regular basis can increase the risk of addiction. For a new user, marijuana with high levels of THC can increase the chance of a bad or unpredictable reaction, like an overdose. The overdose effects of marijuana can include psychotic episodes, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, panic attacks, and impaired coordination.

Types of Marijuana:

There are four main types of marijuana:

  1. Marijuana flower
  2. Marijuana concentrates
  3. Marijuana-infused edibles
  4. Topical marijuana


All forms except topical marijuana are mind-altering (psychoactive).


Dig Deeper

Marijuana flower: Marijuana flower is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp (Cannabis sativa) plant. It goes by many different names, including: pot, herb, bud, weed, and grass. This form of marijuana is usually smoked, and, like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke irritates the throat and lungs.

Marijuana concentrates: Marijuana concentrates are made by extracting potent cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. They are usually consumed by vaporizing the product. Marijuana concentrates go by many different names, including: hash oil, tinctures, dabbing, dabs, shatter, CO2 oil, BHO, wax, budder, honey, and honey oil. Marijuana concentrate users ingest higher levels of the addictive ingredient in marijuana, THC, at faster rates. This can increase the chance of addiction. It can also lead to overdose.

Marijuana-infused edibles: Edibles are food products (like cookies, brownies, candy, and drinks) infused with marijuana. Eating marijuana can be very dangerous. This is because while the effects of smoking or vaping marijuana begin after only a few minutes, the effects of eating marijuana might not begin for 1-3 hours. Because the effects take longer to begin, a user may consume larger amounts of the drug while thinking the drug isn’t working. This can lead to overdose of marijuana.

Topical marijuana: Topicals are cannabis-infused lotions, balms, and oils that are absorbed through the skin and are often used medically for localized pain and inflammation. Marijuana topicals are non-psychoactive, which means they will not get a user high. Topicals that contain THC do not show positive on standard drug test, because the THC does not enter into the bloodstream. However, topicals with THC may show up on drug tests that are more in-depth than standard tests.


What should I do if someone I know needs help?

If you or a friend need help, call the toll-free Washington Recovery Help Line at 866-789-1511, or Teenlink at 866-833-6546. You can also call to find out about counseling for teens who want to stop using marijuana and other resources in your community. Don’t worry, it’s on the DL.

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