The Details

Marijuana + Washington State Law

It is illegal for anyone to:

  • Possess and/or use marijuana under the age of 21 unless the person is medically authorized
  • Drive while under the influence of marijuana
  • Use marijuana in public places
  • Grow marijuana plants unless the person is medically authorized or licensed by the state as a marijuana producer

It is illegal for adults to provide marijuana to minors. It is also illegal for parents to provide marijuana to their children.

Adults age 21 or older can legally use marijuana and possess up to:

  • 1 oz. of useable marijuana
  • 16 oz. of marijuana-infused products in solid form (like cookies or brownies)
  • 72 oz. of marijuana-infused products in liquid form (such as juice or tea)
  • 7 grams of marijuana concentrate
The Details

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been allowed in Washington since 1998. Doctors can authorize it for a patient if they have a condition that may benefit from the use of marijuana.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved marijuana as medicine but has approved two medicines containing synthetic marijuana in pill form.

Even though medical marijuana may sound safer than recreational marijuana, the drug has similar risks and health consequences whether it is used for medical or recreational purposes.

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Marijuana Effects & Consequences

Marijuana can be harmful to your health even though it’s a plant. It can be harmful no matter how it’s used, whether smoked, eaten, vaped, or dabbed. And mixing marijuana with alcohol and other drugs can make it even more dangerous.


Marijuana has more than 400 chemicals, including THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the main active chemical in marijuana. It’s what causes a person to feel “high.”

Marijuana is becoming more and more potent , meaning there is more THC in it. For frequent users, exposure to high doses of THC on a regular basis can increase the risk of addiction. For a new user, marijuana with high levels of THC can increase the chance of a bad or unpredictable reaction, like an overdose. The overdose effects of marijuana can include psychotic episodes (where you lose touch with reality and think something’s happening that really isn’t), hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t really there), extreme paranoia (fear of people or things around you that aren’t actually able to harm you), panic attacks, and impaired coordination.

Types of Marijuana:

There are four main types of marijuana:

  1. Marijuana flower
  2. Marijuana concentrates
  3. Marijuana-infused edibles
  4. Topical marijuana


All forms except topical marijuana are mind-altering (psychoactive).


Dig Deeper

Marijuana flower: Marijuana flower is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp (Cannabis sativa) plant. It goes by many different names, including: pot, herb, bud, weed, and grass. This form of marijuana is usually smoked, and, like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke irritates the throat and lungs.

Marijuana concentrates: Marijuana concentrates are made by extracting potent cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. They are usually consumed by vaporizing the product. Marijuana concentrates go by many different names, including: hash oil, tinctures, dabbing, dabs, shatter, CO2 oil, BHO, wax, budder, honey, and honey oil. Marijuana concentrate users ingest higher levels of the addictive ingredient in marijuana, THC, at faster rates. This can increase the chance of addiction. It can also lead to overdose.

Marijuana-infused edibles: Edibles are food products (like cookies, brownies, candy, and drinks) infused with marijuana. Eating marijuana can be very dangerous. This is because while the effects of smoking or vaping marijuana begin after only a few minutes, the effects of eating marijuana might not begin for 1-3 hours. Because the effects take longer to begin, a user may consume larger amounts of the drug while thinking the drug isn’t working. This can lead to overdose of marijuana.

Topical marijuana: Topicals are cannabis-infused lotions, balms, and oils that are absorbed through the skin and are often used medically for localized pain and inflammation. Marijuana topicals are non-psychoactive, which means they will not get a user high. Topicals that contain THC do not show positive on standard drug test, because the THC does not enter into the bloodstream. However, topicals with THC may show up on drug tests that are more in-depth than standard tests.

The Details

Mixing Marijuana with Alcohol and Other Drugs

Using marijuana and alcohol at the same time can be unpredictable. The effects of one drug can be more powerful than the other, or the combination can cause reactions you didn’t expect.

Here’s what can happen:

  • Unpredictable effects: When marijuana and alcohol are used at the same time, bad side effects are more likely. These effects could be physical (like nausea or vomiting) or psychological (like panic, anxiety, or paranoia).
  • Risky driving: We all know driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana is dangerous. Even if you’ve had “just a little” of each drug, combining alcohol and marijuana puts you, your passengers, and others on the road at serious risk.
  • Getting too intoxicated: Using marijuana and alcohol together can make you really, really intoxicated. This extreme level of being high/drunk makes you less aware of your surroundings and less in control what’s going on. For example, less able to keep track of your wallet, purse or phone, or less able to be safe if you have sex.
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Getting Help

If you or a friend need help, call the toll-free Teenlink at 1-866-TEEN-LINK. You can also call to find out about counseling for teens who want to stop using marijuana and other resources in your community. Don’t worry: it’s on the DL, so your parents won’t find out.

Dig Deeper

Under Washington law, if you’re 13 or older, it’s confidential when you get medical care, drug/alcohol abuse services, or mental health counseling. No one else will find out, not even your parents/guardians—unless you want to tell them. Your doctor can’t talk to anyone else about it unless you say it’s ok—in writing. The only exception is if you share with the doctor that you’re in immediate danger of hurting yourself, hurting someone else, or being hurt.

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For More Information

Visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for Teens website, where you can get more marijuana drug facts and information about other drugs, too.

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