I-502...The Basics

The legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic amongst numerous countries for many years. As of now, the use and distribution of cannabis is illegal in most countries of the world. Although it is legal at the state level in Washington and Colorado, it is still illegal at the federal level. We also have the complete opposite end of the spectrum...North Korea. As tight-lipped and strict as that country is known to be, their view on marijuana use is quite liberal. North Korea does not consider marijuana a "drug." Furthermore, cannabis is extremely popular in the North Korean Military, which is quite controversial. This goes to show that the political and personal views on marijuana are interesting in that it is one of the most highly-debated topics.

The passing of Initiative 502 in 2012 legalized marijuana in the State of Washington for both medicinal and recreational purposes. As one can imagine, it this election issue was a widely-debated one amongst politicians, healthcare professionals, parents, law enforcement agencies, and citizens alike. So what exactly does the passing of I-502 mean? As with many new laws, what is heard on the streets can be quite different from what is actually on-the-books fact, especially when it comes to subjects such as marijuana and alcohol.

Does the passing of I-502 mean that the "marijuana prohibition" is over? Does it mean that Washingtonians can go out and smoke pot when and where ever they so choose? Not really.

Here are some major bullet points regarding the marijuana laws in Washington State:

-One ounce of marijuana can legally be possessed on one's person if they are 21 years of age or older. It cannot, however, be in an open container, used in public, or be displayed.

-Getting caught with the use of marijuana in a public place now means that you will be charged with a civil infraction as opposed to being arrested.

-Licenses to grow/sell marijuana will only be issued to persons 21 years of age and older who have lived in Washington for at least three months.

-Buying marijuana on the street is still illegal. Legal marijuana purchasing only occurs when you buy it from a licensed distributor.

-Driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal. A THC blood concentration level of 5.0 or above is considered driving under the influence, which can result in the suspension of your driver's license.

-The tax rate of marijuana retail sales will be 25%. The majority of the taxes will go to community health projects and public education.

-The passing of I-502 provides Washington State will provide billions of dollars in new revenue.

-The sharing of marijuana with another adult constitutes as felony delivery.

If you would like more information on I-502, please visit: http://sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/initiatives/i502.pdf

As always, remember to keep the card of a good attorney on you at all times. (Especially now with all of these new laws in place). Just in case.