Is Weed Legal In Washington In 2023? Washington Marijuana Laws Explained!

Washington is one of the first states in the US to legalize weed for both medical and recreational use. However, there are still some restrictions and regulations that cannabis consumers and businesses need to be aware of. In this article, we will explain the current status and future prospects of weed legalization in Washington.

Medical Marijuana in Washington

Medical marijuana has been legal in Washington since 1998, when voters approved Initiative 692, which allowed patients with certain qualifying conditions to use and possess cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation. In 2015, the state passed the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (SB 5052), which integrated the medical marijuana system with the recreational one and created a voluntary registry for patients and designated providers.

Patients who register can purchase up to three ounces of flower, 48 ounces of edibles, and 21 grams of concentrates from licensed dispensaries. They can also grow up to 15 plants for personal use or join a cooperative with up to four members. Patients who do not register can still possess up to one ounce of flower, 16 ounces of edibles, and seven grams of concentrates, and grow up to four plants for personal use. However, they are not exempt from sales and excise taxes and may face legal risks if they are caught by law enforcement.

Recreational Marijuana in Washington

Recreational marijuana was legalized in Washington in 2012, when voters passed Initiative 502, which allowed adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of flower, 16 ounces of edibles, and seven grams of concentrates from licensed retailers.

The initiative also established a 37% excise tax on cannabis sales, which goes to fund various programs such as substance abuse prevention, education, health care, and research. The state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) is responsible for regulating and licensing the cannabis industry, including growers, processors, retailers, and testing labs.

The LCB also sets limits on the number of licenses, the amount of production, and the potency and serving size of cannabis products. As of 2023, there are over 500 licensed retailers and over 1,000 licensed producers and processors in Washington.

Consumption and Cultivation of Marijuana in Washington

Consumption of marijuana in Washington is restricted to private places, such as homes, hotels, or cannabis lounges. Public consumption is illegal and can result in a civil infraction and a fine of up to $100. Smoking or vaping cannabis is also prohibited in any place where tobacco smoking is banned, such as bars, restaurants, workplaces, and public transportation.

Driving under the influence of cannabis is also illegal and can result in a DUI charge if the driver has more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. Cultivation of marijuana for personal use is only allowed for medical patients who register with the state or join a cooperative.

Recreational users are not allowed to grow their own cannabis, unless they obtain a license from the LCB. Growing cannabis without a license is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Future of Marijuana Legalization in Washington

Marijuana legalization in Washington has been largely successful, generating over $2 billion in tax revenue since 2014 and creating thousands of jobs in the cannabis industry. However, there are still some challenges and areas for improvement, such as reducing the black market, increasing social equity, and expanding access and affordability for medical patients. Some of the recent and upcoming changes in the cannabis laws in Washington include:

In 2020, the state passed HB 2870, which created a social equity program to provide grants, loans, and technical assistance to people from communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs who want to enter the cannabis industry.

In 2020, the state also passed SB 6206, which allowed the LCB to issue licenses for cannabis consumption lounges, where adults 21 and older can legally consume cannabis in a social setting. The LCB is expected to finalize the rules and start issuing licenses in 2023.

In 2021, the state passed SB 5370, which reduced the excise tax on medical cannabis products from 37% to 30%, making them more affordable for patients. The bill also allowed medical patients to purchase cannabis products from any licensed retailer, not just those with a medical endorsement.

In 2021, the state also passed HB 1019, which expanded the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana to include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

In 2022, the state is expected to vote on Initiative 1776, which would legalize home cultivation of up to six plants for recreational users and up to 24 plants for medical patients. The initiative would also allow adults to gift or share up to one ounce of flower, 16 ounces of edibles, and seven grams of concentrates with other adults.


Washington is one of the pioneers of weed legalization in the US, with a robust and regulated cannabis market that serves both medical and recreational users. However, the state still has some room for improvement, especially in terms of allowing home cultivation, increasing social equity, and reducing the black market. The state is constantly evolving its cannabis laws to reflect the changing needs and preferences of its citizens and the industry. As of 2023, weed is legal in Washington, but there are still some rules and regulations that consumers and businesses need to follow.

Leave a Comment