Frequently Asked Questions on the Sale and Use of Recreational Marijuana

This page is intended to provide factual information about the purchase and use of recreational marijuana in the state of Washington.

Because the law is still being interpreted, check the Washington State Liquor Control Board’s website for the most current information. 


What is Washington State Initiative 502?

I-502 decriminalized recreational use and limited possession (up to one ounce) of cannabis, 16 ounces of marijuana infused product in solid form or 72 ounces of marijuana infused product in liquid form under Washington law for adults 21 years of age and older. I-502 also established a system in which marijuana is regulated, taxed, and distributed similarly to alcohol. The law went into effect on December 1, 2013. The Washington State Liquor Control Board’s website has links to various resources and will be adding additional information over time.

How might the law impact the Washington visitor experience?

It is not yet known what impact – if any – the law will have on tourism. The law applies to both residents and visitors to the state. Washington State visitors should be aware that pot use and possession remains a criminal act on federal lands, which includes the National Parks and National Forests as well as college and university campuses which receive Federal funding. Tribal lands may also continue to enforce their own policies regarding marijuana use and possession. Some cities have also chosen to outlaw pot-related businesses within their boundaries, so retail marijuana stores might not be readily available in some communities.

Does Washington have marijuana retail stores?

There are a limited number of retail outlets in Washington, however it’s important to note that a number of cities and counties within Washington have chosen not to allow the retail sale of marijuana within their jurisdiction's limits. 

Where can you use marijuana?

You can use marijuana on private property where the owner allows. Marijuana cannot be consumed in public places like stores, restaurants and parking lots, or at public gatherings such as concerts and events. Much like having an open container of alcohol in public, doing so could result in a civil infraction—like a ticket—but not arrest. You can certainly use marijuana in the privacy of your own home. Additionally, if smoking a cigarette isn’t allowed where you are (say, inside an apartment building, restaurant, public space or flammable chemical factory); smoking marijuana isn’t allowed there either.

Please note that the initiative says it “is unlawful to open a package containing marijuana in view of the general public”. Something to keep in mind.

Do area lodging properties allow usage in smoking rooms?

While area lodging properties are all private property and have the choice to allow usage at their own discretion, subject to state regulations, most lodging properties have decided to ban all marijuana usage on property. Please make sure you understand each property’s guidelines and restrictions before booking or staying.

Can I transport purchased marijuana across state lines, international borders or through airports?

No, it is illegal to transport or possess marijuana in both airports as well as across state lines and international borders.

Please keep in mind:

  • Communities and counties in Washington State can and have chosen to ban recreational marijuana retail stores in their respective jurisdictions.
  • You may not buy, possess or smoke marijuana if you are under the age of 21; giving or selling marijuana to anyone under the age of 21 is illegal.
  • You may not consume marijuana in public and must have permission to do so if on private property.
  • Driving Under the Influence laws apply to marijuana.
  • Smoking laws and regulations apply to smoking marijuana.