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WA Marijuana Dispensary Guide

Washington Regulated Cannabis Program Overview

Type of program: Medical and Recreational

The Washington state medical marijuana program has traveled a long and rocky road. After many years of battling between advocates and opponents, in 2011, the state legislature passed its first medical marijuana bill. The measure would have created a system of state-licensed growers, processors, and dispensaries. However, Governor Christine Gregoire vetoed most of the legislation. Over the next couple of years, several illegal dispensaries in Washington were raided and their owners arrested. 

On November 6, 2012, I-502 was approved legalizing the possession of up to 1 ounce (28 g) of marijuana by adults. In accordance with the initiative, the Washington State Liquor Control board was given a deadline of December 1, 2013, to establish regulations for a recreational cannabis industry in Washington.

The Liquor Control Board initially planned to allow 334 retail stores and 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2) of growing space statewide. 

On November 18, 2013, the state began accepting applications for marijuana business licenses and the first marijuana dispensaries in Washington opened to the public on July 8, 2014.

Licensed dispensaries with medical marijuana endorsement from the state are permitted to sell marijuana and other cannabis-infused products to all adults 21 years or older plus any medical marijuana patient over the age of 18.

Washington medical marijuana dispensaries

Washington marijuana dispensaries are permitted to sell products to both recreational users 21 or older. A separate permit is required to sell to medical marijuana cardholders and caregivers.

All medically endorsed marijuana dispensaries must have a certified medical marijuana consultant on staff to work with patients and issue medical marijuana cards. “Budtenders” are required to complete a 20-hour training program in order to qualify to be a certified medical marijuana consultant.

Certified medical marijuana consultants can only assist patients with entering patient and caregiver information into the medical marijuana database, creating medical marijuana cards, assisting patients with product selection, and explaining the risks and benefits of products and how to use them.

Patient possession limits

Qualified patients and caregiver may legally purchase any combination of the following cannabis products from a medical marijuana dispensary:

  • 3 ounces, or 85 grams, of usable marijuana
  • 48 ounces, or 1.36 kilograms, of marijuana-infused products in solid form
  • 216 fluid ounces, or 6.39 liters, of marijuana-infused products in liquid form
  • 21 grams of marijuana concentrate (hash, oil, wax, etc.)

Washington Marijuana Laws

Marijuana-related DUI laws in Washington

In Washington, It is illegal for drivers under 21 to have any trace of marijuana in their blood while driving. Penalties are the same as for alcohol DUI.

Transporting cannabis in Washington

In Washington it is legal to transport marijuana in your car, however, it must be in a locked, safe, and secure storage compartment that is secured to the inside of the vehicle (eg: locked glove compartment).

Public consumption laws in Washington 

Marijuana cannot be consumed in public view, such as on streets or sidewalks or in public parks, etc.

Social consumption

Social consumption venues are prohibited in Washington. It’s a class C felony “for any person to conduct or maintain a public place where marijuana is held or stored…or consumption of marijuana is permitted.”


Property owners or landlords may prohibit the consumption of marijuana on their property.

Home cultivation

Washington medical marijuana cardholders may grow up to six plants for personal medical use, either in their home or as a member of a cooperative. 

The legal possession limit of usable marijuana for a medical marijuana patient is 8 ounces or 227 grams. Medical marijuana doctors can authorize at their discretion up to 15 plants and possession of up to 16 ounces of usable marijuana.

Washington residents 21 or older are permitted to grow four plants without a medical marijuana card.

Learn More About Growing High Quality Cannabis at Home

Washington marijuana and guns

Although marijuana is legal in the state of Washington, it is still Federally prohibited. Therefore gun purchase or ownership is currently prohibited for anyone that consumes marijuana

Learn more about marijuana and guns

Washington hemp and CBD laws

All hemp flower, hemp-derived CBD, and other hemp products are legal in Washington state and may be purchased by individuals of all ages. However, many shops that sell CBD products require customers to be at least 18 years of age.

Learn more about Washington hemp and CBD laws

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