Washington Marijuana Laws
This state has legalized marijuana for medical and personal use.
Initiative 692 – Passed in 1998
Possession: 24 ounces (oz) usable – 15 plants
Can you use other Legal State Cards: No
How The Law Reads:
Chapter 69.51A RCW Ballot Initiative I-692 — Approved by 59% of voters on Nov. 3, 1998
Effective: Nov. 3, 1998
Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess “valid documentation” from their physician affirming that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and that the “potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks.”
Approved Conditions: Cachexia; cancer; HIV or AIDS; epilepsy; glaucoma; intractable pain (defined as pain unrelieved by standard treatment or medications); and multiple sclerosis. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Washington Board of Health.
Possession/Cultivation: Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess or cultivate no more than a 60-day supply of marijuana. The law does not establish a state-run patient registry.
Amended: Senate Bill 6032
Effective: 2007 (rules being defined by Legislature with a July 1, 2008 due date)
Amended: Final Rule based on Significant Analysis
Effective: Nov. 2, 2008
Approved Conditions: Added Crohn’s disease, Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain, diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when those conditions are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
Possession/Cultivation: A qualifying patient and designated provider may possess a total of no more than twenty-four ounces of usable marijuana, and no more than fifteen plants. This quantity became the state’s official “60-day supply” on Nov. 2, 2008.
[Editor’s Note: On Jan. 21, 2010, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington ruled that Ballot Initiative “I-692 did not legalize marijuana, but rather provided an authorized user with an affirmative defense if the user shows compliance with the requirements for medical marijuana possession.” State v. Fry
ProCon.org contacted the Washington Department of Health to ask whether it had received any instructions in light of this ruling. Kristi Weeks, Director of Policy and Legislation, stated the following in a Jan. 25, 2010 email response to ProCon.org:
“The Department of Health has a limited role related to medical marijuana in the state of Washington. Specifically, we were directed by the Legislature to determine the amount of a 60 day supply and conduct a study of issues related to access to medical marijuana. Both of these tasks have been completed. We have maintained the medical marijuana webpage for the convenience of the public.
The department has not received ‘any instructions’ in light of State v. Fry. That case does not change the law or affect the 60 day supply. Chapter 69.51A RCW, as confirmed in Fry, provides an affirmative defense to prosecution for possession of marijuana for qualifying patients and caregivers.”]
Amended: SB 5073
Effective: July 22, 2011
Gov. Christine Gregoire signed sections of the bill and partially vetoed others, as explained in the Apr. 29, 2011 veto notice. Gov. Gregoire struck down sections related to creating state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries and a voluntary patient registry.
[Editor’s Note: On Nov. 6, 2012, Washington voters passed Initiative 502, which allows the state to “license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over 21 and tax marijuana sales.” The website for Washington’s medical marijuana program states that the intiative “does not amend or repeal the medical marijuana laws (chapter 69.51A RCW) in any way. The laws relating to authorization of medical marijuana by healthcare providers are still valid and enforceable.”]
Department of Health
PO Box 47866
Olympia, WA 98504-7866
Medical Marijuana (Cannabis)