Everything You Need to Know About Marijuana Laws in Washington State

Car Insurance
April 1, 2024
Man with dreads smoking a huge, rolled marijuana joint.

With the ever-changing regulations around marijuana in the U.S., you may be wondering, “Is weed legal in Washington?” Yes, weed is legal, though regulated. If you live here or are planning to visit, you need to know the marijuana laws in Washington, especially if you’re behind the wheel. Messing up could cause many problems, including skyrocketing auto insurance rates and possibly losing coverage and driving privileges altogether. 

So consider this the straight dope (so to speak) on a foggy topic. 

An Overview of Washington State Marijuana Laws 

Cannabis is legal here. Period. For users, that’s the good news. You can smoke or otherwise consume cannabis without being hassled as long as you’re of legal age and observe the various laws and regulations. 

Now for a closer look at those all-important laws and regulations. 

Under the Influence: The Legal Age and Restrictions 

You can smoke or otherwise consume cannabis in Washington state if you are at least 21 years of age and can show proof of age with an official photo ID, such as a driver’s license. 

However, you can never use cannabis in any form or be under the influence of the drug while driving. That’s particularly important to know since there’s such a thing as Washington state marijuana DUIs

Legal Implications of Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana 

In the state of Washington, it’s illegal to drive a vehicle with more than five ng/ml of THC (the pot ingredient that makes you high) in your bloodstream if you’re age 21 or over. You can be ordered to take this test at a hospital if the arresting police officer thinks you’re high while behind the wheel. If you’re under 21, you can’t drive with any weed in your system. 

The length of time that much THC stays in your system can vary depending on how much you consume and other factors like body size, but on average, you’re safer to drive if you’ve waited at least five hours after consumption. 

Understanding the Consequences 

At the very least, wait until the buzz is long gone. If you get a marijuana DUI in Washington state, you’ll find the penalties to be as severe as driving under the influence of alcohol due to marijuana driving laws. According to DUI laws, that could mean a license suspension, heavy fines, court costs, and lawyer fees. Even jail time is a possibility for multiple infractions. 

Marijuana DUIs raise your auto insurance rates considerably. Some insurers won’t even provide coverage because marijuana DUIs, like alcohol impairment while driving, lead to being tagged as a high-risk driver. Don’t play with fire (so to speak). If you’re consuming cannabis in any form, stay home or wherever consumption is allowed — not behind the wheel. 

On top of all of that, you’ll likely get restricted driving privileges even if you keep your license. 

Man and woman walking down the street with sunglasses that have marijuana leaves on them.

Cannabis in the Realm of Education, Employment, and Landlords 

What Should Students Know About Cannabis Use? 

First and foremost, young people should remember that the personal use of cannabis is legal in the state at the age of 21. Those younger than that can’t legally use the product in any form. 

Since consumption isn’t allowed on public grounds, don’t take weed while at your university, college, or other place of learning. It is, however, acceptable to consume cannabis in your off-campus living space. However, you can’t smoke weed in a rented space where your lease forbids smoking any product. 

Your Rights as a Worker: Cannabis Consumption Off-Duty 

You could be in as much trouble at your place of employment for being high as you would be if you came to work drunk. That said, you have the full right to consume marijuana in any legal form during your off-work hours. What you do on your own time is your own business. 

In addition, Washington employers can’t base hiring decisions on cannabis use or conduct tests to determine whether THC is in an applicant’s bloodstream. 

As a responsible worker, treat substance use in the same way you might protect yourself from marijuana DUIs. That is, leave a space of five hours or more between consuming weed and reporting to work. In short, you shouldn’t be on the job if you still feel a buzz. 

Role of Landlords and Housing Regulations Regarding Marijuana Usage 

As stated, cannabis can be consumed in private housing. However, landlords with smoke-free policies in their leases concerning tobacco use can uphold the same policies concerning the smoking of weed indoors. 

The use of edibles, vapors, and other smoke-free forms of weed is permitted in your home, whether you rent or own it. If you live in an apartment building or other large housing complex, be careful of smoking outdoors if much of the space surrounding your building is public land, since it is illegal to consume in a public space. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Where Can I Smoke Weed in Washington State? 

In the privacy of your own home or in other private spaces where smoking is allowed. You can consume non-smoking forms, such as edibles, in any private space. 

Can I Smoke Weed in My Hotel in Washington State? 

Probably not. Since most hotels and motels here and elsewhere don’t permit the smoking of tobacco, smoking weed would be similarly unacceptable. However, you can consume non-smokable forms of cannabis in your room. 

Can I Smoke Cannabis in Public in Washington State? 

No. Marijuana consumption in any form is not allowed in public spaces. This includes downtown areas, malls, parks, concerts, campuses, public transit, and other places where people congregate. 

Can I Fly Out of Seattle with Weed? 

No! Cannabis in your possession in any form in your luggage or carry-on at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport or any other airport in the state is strictly forbidden. If you’re exiting the Evergreen State by air, don’t try to take weed souvenirs to your out-of-state friends. 

Are There Any Special Taxes on Cannabis Sales in Washington? 

Yes. Your purchase of cannabis at any legal retail store in Washington state includes a 37% excise tax added to the total. 

Does Washington State Have Any Special Cannabis Laws for Medical Marijuana Users? 

Not in most circumstances. Unlike U.S. states where marijuana is only legal to take under specific medical conditions, all residents and visitors 21 or older can legally consume weed in Washington. However, those with recognized medical conditions can also grow up to four cannabis plants or as many as 15 per household after registering with the state. 

Stay Safe on the Roads

It’s legal to use cannabis in Washington state. Let’s make it safe, too. Never drive buzzed. And make sure you have auto insurance that protects against everything that can cause severe damage to your vehicle and pocketbook — including other weed-impaired drivers. 

If you’re a driver who’s received a marijuana DUI, we’ll help you get or keep coverage that’s as affordable as possible. Call Vern Fonk Insurance at 800-455-8276 or get a quick quote online. You can also find a Washington Vern Fonk Insurance office and agent near you