Marijuana Medical & Criminal

Laws related to marijuana use, possession and cultivation are changing every year.

Our attorneys help to keep you informed and protected.

Criminal Laws:

  • It is unlawful to:
    • Possess Marijuana (MJ)(Schedule I)
      • Less than 40 gm is a Misdemeanor
      • On federal land, less than 30 gm (Misdemeanor)
      • 1st Offense = 1 day in jail + $250
      • 2nd Offense = 1 day in jail + $500
      • Over 40 gm is a Class C Felony
  • Use of Drug Paraphernalia (Misdemeanor)
  • Distribute and/or grow Marijuana (Felony)
  • Display Medical Marijuana in a manner/place open to public (Misdemeanor)
  • Fraudulently produce/tamper with a record to have it accepted as valid documentation of medical use (Felony)
  • Drive while Impaired by Marijuana (DUI) (Gross Misdemeanor)
  • Involve a minor in manufacture/sale/delivery of Marijuana (Felony)
  • Provide a minor with Drug Paraphernalia (Gross misdemeanor)

If under 21, a conviction may cause a 1 year driver’s license suspension.

Medical Marijuana

RCW 69.51 (A) provides an “affirmative defense” to the otherwise unlawful possession of Marijuana. In other words, even with medical authorization, you can still be arrested and prosecuted for possession of Marijuana. An affirmative defense only blocks the government’s ability to convict you; not the ability to arrest and prosecute.

Note: If you are arrested for possession of Marijuana and, during the search of your person, vehicle, hoe etc, police find something else that is unlawful, you can then be prosecuted for possessing that item and your medical Marijuana authorization will not protect you.

Note: Washington law only applies to prosecution by Washington authorities. RCW 69.51(A) has no affect on Federal prosecution under Federal Law.

The medical Marijuana laws contain a comprehensive list of qualified medical conditions which must be diagnosed by a Health Care Professional (usually a doctor). View a list of these medical conditions.

  • To possess Marijuana under RCW 69.51(A), you must have “Valid Documentation” which is a statement signed and dated by a Qualified Health Care Professional (View a full list of Qualified Health Care Professionals) on tamper-resistant paper accompanied by identification (ex. A  Driver’s License).
    • Note A Health Care Professional cannot write a “prescription”. They can only write a “Recommendation”.
  • A Qualified Patient is limited to possessing a 60-day supply; defined as 24 oz. and 15 plants. The Patient must prove a medical need for more than this amount in order to lawfully possess more.
  • A Qualified Patient may grow or possess; but not buy or sell.
  • A “Designated Provider” may grow Marijuana for a Qualified Patient; however, they may only grow for one patient at a time.
  • The issue of “Dispensaries” is unsettled in Washington. View the latest on Washington Law.

Ways to Protect Yourself

  • Keep Marijuana in an air-tight opaque container. Do not transport Marijuana in a motor vehicle unless in a locked compartment i.e. locked glove box.
    • Tip: Your vehicle may have a locking glove compartment… USE IT! Generally, Police need a warrant to search locked compartments.
  • Never consent/agree to a search of your person, home or vehicle by Police. Tell them “no” and make them get a warrant. Be respectful but firm.
  • Do not smoke or consume Marijuana in public or in a motor vehicle.
  • To protect other people in your vehicle and/or home, keep Marijuana in a room or container that is locked and they do not have access.
  • Never answer Police questions (other than identification information) without an attorney. Our attorneys can be reached 24/7.

More Information:

Every case we accept is staffed and brainstormed by multiple attorneys. The core of our team is Lizanne and Drue.  Between them, they have tried more than 500 cases and negotiated thousands of cases. Lizanne and Drue work seamlessly together and, regardless which one is your lead attorney, both are committed to P&A clients and to the firm’s reputation. Call (425) 883-3366, 24/7.