Washington

The state of Washington authorized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1998, when 59% of voters passed Initiative 692. The Initiative removed state penalties for the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana for patients who obtained a physician’s recommendation for treatment of cancer, AIDS, epilepsy, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Hepatitis C or incurable pain. Though those suffering from other ailments and injuries may appeal to the Washington Board of Health, it is very difficult to obtain a medical marijuana authorization without a diagnosis of one of the aforementioned conditions. Authorized patients or their primary caregivers may legally possess or cultivate a 60-day supply of medical marijuana. Though the law did not originally specify what constitutes a 60-day supply of medical marijuana, it was amended in 2008 to define a 60-day supply as no more than 24 ounces of usable marijuana and up to 15 marijuana plants. Washington does not maintain a patient registry program and does not allow marijuana dispensaries. Authorized patients or primary caregivers may cultivate marijuana for patient use only. Unauthorized possession of less than 40 grams of marijuana is classified as a misdemeanor and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 day in jail and a $250 fine. Selling or cultivating any amount of marijuana is a felony charge with a mandatory minimum fine of $10,000. For each subsequent conviction, the mandatory minimum jail time and fines double.