Laws


History and Culture


Washington

Don’t worry, Washington has a long history of socially accepting of marijuana. In fact, the first Seattle Hempfest was held on August 17th, 1991 long before any medicinal legalization cannabis. With British Columbia to the north and Oregon to the south, Washington is known for being the epicenter of the world for high grade cannabis. University of Washington has been studying Cannabis for decades, and a janitor even snuck a clone out in the 90s. You can find the strain on the shelves of many stores to this day, look for UW Purp!

Although many cannabis events are an act of civil disobedience, the general attitude towards the herb is very relaxed.  During Hempfest you will see the Seattle Police cruising around on bicycles handing out munchies with guidelines for staying out of trouble.

On November 3rd, 1998 Washington legalized medical marijuana along with Oregon and Alaska solidifying medical marijuana along the whole US west coast. Washington has the most liberal medical marijuana laws in the country which lead to the legalization of recreational cannabis on November 3rd 2012.

Colorado

Colorado also has a long history of socially accepting of marijuana. Boulder is famous around the world for its high quality strains of cannabis including Charlotte’s Web a high CBD strain developed to help children with Epilepsy. On November 6th, 2012 Amendment 64 passed, and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. The first stores officially opened on January 1, 2014 officially making it the first state to sell recreational cannabis to anyone over the age of 21.
Although public consumption at many cannabis events is an act of civil disobedience, the general attitude towards the herb is relaxed. During the 4/20 holiday around the state you will see gatherings where people are openly consuming cannabis in public, and the police are standing by making sure everyone is safe.
In November of 2000 Colorado legalized medical marijuana along with Nevada squeezing conservative Utah between the two. Colorado along with Washington has decriminalized and legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorado is different from Washington in the sense that they have taken their extremely well regulated medical marijuana industry and tacked on recreational sales. Washington on the other hand had a widely unregulated medical marijuana industry and had to develop an entirely new recreational industry. The difference can be seen in the time it took to implement the new recreational legislation.

 


Legalization of Recreational Marijuana


Washington

In May of 2014, Washington starting approving Producer/Processor licenses to cultivate cannabis. This permitting allowed retail shops to start opening up on July 8th 2014. You can find a list of current legal I-502 recreational stores by accessing this list of approved Retail Shops as well as a map.
A good way to help decide if you are in a legal recreational store is by examining the packaging. The packaging in the legally licensed stores will be clearly labeled with the total THC contents of each product you purchase. Edibles will be in child proof packaging.

Colorado

In January of 2014, Colorado starting selling recreational marijuana to anyone over the age of 21. Only a couple of regions do not allow the sale of recreational marijuana, but the entirety of Colorado has legalized possession and private consumption. Follow this link to find a map of Retail Shops provided by the Cannabist.
Stores are allowed by the state to be open from 8 am to 12 am. Denver however closes stores at 7 pm. You may have to travel to a bordering city to get your pot if you are landing at DIA after 7 pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Washington State’s Legal Limits to Purchase and Possess


Washington

The law has capped the legal amount you can purchase and possess at any one time depending on the type of product:

Flower-One Ounce (28 Grams)

Extracts and Concentrates – 7 grams of extract for inhalation

Edibles- 16 oz of infused product in edible form or 72 oz in beverage form

Topicals- 16 oz of infused topical product in solid form or 72 oz in liquid form

Colorado

The law has capped the legal amount you can purchase at any one time depending on if you are a resident or not. If you are a resident you with a valid Colorado ID you can buy up to one ounce. If you are from out of state you can only purchase 7 grams (1/4 Ounce) per transaction. Most stores will only allow one transaction per day, but you can always visit multiple stores per day.

The possession laws are the same for anyone over the age of 21 whether you are a resident or not. The legal limit for possession is 1 Ounce (28 grams).


Consumption


Washington

Seattle is currently pushing legislation to allow vapor lounges but as of now nothing has passed. Although there are not currently any vapor lounges or coffee bars that allow you to light up similar to Amsterdam, there are a number of businesses in Seattle that fall into the speakeasy category.  You will not find them listed publically as they operating in a legal grey area, but they do exist. Use your nose.

In the first 7 months of legalization, Seattle PD issued around 100 tickets for public consumption, but a vast majority of them were issued by the same officer, Randy Jokela. Seattle City Attorney, Pete Holmes, recently dismissed all 100 tickets due to their unprofessional nature! Officer Jokela is now under official investigation by the Office of Professional Accountability.

Colorado

Denver is much stricter on public consumption than in Seattle, and although there have been multiple cannabis lounges in the past; they are being closed down on a regular basis.

Unless there is an event where many others are consuming we do not recommend violating the public consumption laws. Colorado has implemented a $75-$150 ticket for public consumption in order to combat the consistent violations since legalization. Private Bud and Breakfast/cannabis friendly lodging establishments are a great alternative to find a private place to consume.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many events in which you will see crowds of people consuming publically and proudly. These events are considered protestivals in the sense that the public consumption is an act of civil disobedience. Colorado and Washington have a history of allowing events like this and with the consent or implied consent from law enforcement.

Discretion is often the best advice to give a traveler. As long as you’re are not causing an issue or being irresponsible, law enforcement tends to turn a blind eye. An easy way to get away with public consumption is by using vape pens filled with concentrate.  Many vape pens do not smell or draw any extra attention. Most people believe it is an E-Cigarette.

Happy Toking!


Can I get a DUI


YES, Washington and Colorado have a legal limit of 5 Nanograms/mL of blood similar to the .08 Blood Alcohol Content test. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ,(NHTSA), “Plasma THC concentrations generally fall below 5 ng/mL less than 3 hours after smoking.” Keep in mind that edibles can last much longer. We do not recommend using cannabis and operating a vehicle as, “Chronic users can have a mean plasma levels of THC-COOH of 45 ng/mL, 12 hours after use,” according to the NHTSA.

Surprisingly enough Colorado also has an open container law that applies to marijuana similar to the open alcohol container law. We recommend putting your marijuana in the trunk out of the passenger area to make sure you are completely legal. There is no open container law in Washington.

Many people break this law every day and have no issues driving while under the influence of cannabis. There need to be more studies on the actual impairment level that constitutes a DUI, but until then there are plenty of public transit options as well as cabs and Uber/Lyft drivers.

If you do have an issue with a DUI, click the following link according to the state you are in for a list of qualified lawyers.

Washington | Colorado


Interstate and International Travel


You cannot travel to other states with your purchase of cannabis, or you could be facing state and federal prosecution. Although people do it on a regular basis, the police are on the lookout. Oregon tends to be quite cannabis friendly, but horror stories come from Idaho and all of the states surrounding Colorado on a regular basis. Many travelers are quickly profiled as cannabis users and forced into illegal searches.

Many times officers claim to have smelled something, and sometimes they even lie about it. Officers can use smell as probable cause to search your vehicle. The best thing to do in this situation is to stay calm, be respectful, and do not allow for a search especially if you do have cannabis.  If they do decide to search your vehicle it is best to stay quiet and contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible especially if you have cannabis in the vehicle and get caught.

Luckily you are more than welcome to have marijuana in in Washington and Colorado!


Cultivation


Washington

Cultivation/Growing is not allowed by anyone other than state licensed cultivation facilities or medicinal patients. Medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow up to 15 plants!

Colorado

Cultivation/Growing is not allowed by anyone other than state licensed cultivation facilities or medicinal patients. Medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow up to 15 plants!

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