As many American citizens know, Washington State recently passed an initiative that legalized the recreational use of marijuana in the state. The initiative was originally submitted by the secretary of state of Washington in the summer of 2011. Over the next year the necessary signatures were acquired, and the initiative went onto the November 6, 2012 election ballot, and was then approved by popular vote. While the initiative does legalize the recreational use of the marijuana plant in the State of Washington, for many people it is hazy and unclear exactly what is and isn’t legal under the new law. This article will look at what the new law specifically states in the hopes of shedding light on this unclear situation.
While the initiative technically passed on November 6th 2012, the state has until December 1, 2013 to establish the specific rules and regulations on what will and won’t be legal under this new law. This is the main reason why there is so much confusion surrounding the legality of marijuana in Washington. So while specifics won’t be known until December 1st, what is currently decided as legal and not legal can at least be clarified.
• What Has Changed: The main thing that has changed is that marijuana is now legal to posses and use for recreational purposes on private property in the State of Washington by those who are at least 21 years of age. New DUI tests and rules will soon be going into effect, as well as specifics on driving regulations concerning the use of Marijuana.
• What Will Change: By December 1st, certain regulations will go into affect; one aspect that is still not clear is how much marijuana will be legal for a person to have on them at one time. Another aspect that will change is there will be legal, licensed growers and sellers in the State of Washington, who will be authorized to sell marijuana taxed at 25%, permitted they follow certain rules and regulations. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings that people have about the new law, as of right now, it is not legal to buy or sell marijuana, it is only legal to use it. This is the ironic part about the new law, until marijuana sellers are legalized, it is legal to possess marijuana, but not to buy or sell it, making it impossible to legally possess it. Due to this confusion in the marijuana law, it would be best to wait until the dispensaries open to use marijuana.
• What Doesn’t Change: Use of marijuana in public will still be illegal, same as it is illegal to drink alcohol in public locations. It is also still illegal to grow and sell your own marijuana at home. The new law only legalizes the purchase and use of marijuana distributed by licensed and government regulated retailers of the product. Also, it is important to remember while marijuana is currently legal in Washington State, by federal regulations it is still illegal, so its legality may soon come under question.
Hopefully this has cleared up some of the confusion that surrounds the legal use of marijuana in Washington State. However, the regulations surrounding the use of marijuana in Washington will continue to change until December 1, 2013, so it is important to keep researching the regulations as they are updated.