Washington State Legalizes Marijuana, now history has been made in Washington when 55 percent of voters decided in favor of Initiative 502 on election night. This is the first time in 89 years that cannabis has been legalized, (Washington lawmakers initially outlawed cannabis in 1923, 14 years ahead of the enactment of federal prohibition.)
Washington State Marijuana Laws
The bill that passed allowing the legal use of marijuana in Washington State, allows an adult to possess up to one ounce cannabis (and/or up to 16 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form) for their own personal use in private ? and they may do so without being in violation of state law.
To be clear: This is not decriminalization ? a policy change that amends criminal penalties for minor marijuana offenses, but that continues to define cannabis as illegal contraband under the law and subjects its consumers to civil penalties. In Washington, marijuana ? when possessed in private by an adult in specific quantities ? is a legal commodity. (By contrast, public consumption of cannabis is a civil violation. Existing penalties regarding home cultivation for non-patients remain unchanged. Rules regarding the regulated sale of cannabis to adults are to be codified later next year.)
Nevertheless, the immediate statutory changes effective today provide unprecedented legal protections for adult cannabis consumers. Rather than presuming cannabis to be illicit, and that those who possess it are engaged in illegal activity, the enactment of I-502 mandates law enforcement and prosecutors to presume that cannabis is in fact legal, and that those who possess it in personal use quantities are engaged in legal activity, unless the state can show that there are extenuating circumstances proving otherwise. Moreover, since up to one ounce of cannabis will no longer be classified as an illicit commodity under state law, police will have no legal authority to seize it from lawful adults. Finally, police will arguably no longer be permitted to legally engage in