In 1998, Washington state residents approved Measure 692 which allowed
for the medical use of marijuana. Under this provision, patients who
are suffering from illnesses such as AIDS, glaucoma, MS, epilepsy,
nausea or chronic pain can obtain a prescription from a certified
physician. This will allow the patient to keep a 60 day supply of
marijuana in their possession. Medical marijuana patients will be
issued a special I.D. and are encouraged to have this I.D. with them
whenever they are using their prescription.
Medical Marijuana Laws
However, just because you're a patient doesn't mean you would be
completely exempt from the other Washington marijuana laws. If you are
found to have more than a 60 day supply of medical marijuana or are
arrested for selling any amount of pot, you could still face the same
level of penalties as non-medical users.
Washington Marijuana Possession
When it comes to marijuana possession charges in the state of
Washington there are just two levels: having amounts under 40 ounces or
above 40 ounces. If arrested for possession of the lesser amount then
you'll be charged with a misdemeanor and spend a minimum of 24 hours in
jail. That is the state's only mandatory minimum sentence that applies
to marijuana charges.
Depending on the circumstances, that jail time could be increased to a
maximum of 90 days. Typically this would happen with repeat offenders.
The fine for this offense could be as high as $500.
Being arrested in possession of more than 40 ounces of pot will have
you being charged with a felony offense. The possible jail time for
that conviction can be up to five years along with a $10,000 fine.
Felony convictions also mean the loss of the right to vote and own guns.
Washington Marijuana Growing or
The above and below 40 ounce level of distinction also applies to
growing or selling marijuana. However, these charges are considered a
felony offense in Washington. A conviction for growing or selling less
than 40 ounces of marijuana could mean up to six months behind bars and
paying $10,000 in fines.
Being convicted of selling or growing any amount above 40 ounces will
still have a $10,000 fine, but the potential jail time can go up to
five years. If the offender is convicted of selling to a minor, which
is in this state would be anyone three years or younger, then the jail
time and fines could be doubled.
Miscellaneous Washington Marijuana
If you are arrested in possession of, making or delivering any kind of
marijuana paraphernalia you will be charged with a misdemeanor and
could face up to 90 days in jail if convicted. Any juvenile who is
convicted of a marijuana offense will have their driver's license
suspended for one year.
Washington state does not have a specific driving under the influence
of drugs exemption, but that doesn't mean a driver who is caught under
the influence won't be in trouble. They can still be charged with
possession and face those penalties. As for the DUI charge, the same
punishment for driving under the influence of alcohol would apply.