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What Marijuana Legalization Will Actually Be Like in Washington State

Now that voters in Washington State have approved Initiative 502 legalizing marijuana, the big question is what will the legal marijuana actually be like. The initiative gives the Washington State Liquor Control Board the job of regulating the new industry and they are going to be the prime source for answers. The WSLCB has created a new website to detail the implementation of the new law and a useful fact sheet explains what the law allows for.

Under the law, individuals 21 year of age and older will be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana infused products in a solid form (think marijuana brownies), and 72 ounces of marijuana infused liquids. Possession of marijuana in excess of those amounts would still be a crime for regular adults not licensed to sell or produce marijuana.

It is estimated that marijuana will cost around $12 per gram which is roughly the same price as medical marijuana in the state.

The law will allow for special retail outlets that sell marijuana but they will be highly restricted. Marijuana stores will only be allowed to sell marijuana products. No one under the age of 21 will even be allowed on the premises. These marijuana retail stores will be very inconspicuous, thanks to tough restrictions on their ability to advertise. Marijuana stores will only be allowed one small sign and they can’t display marijuana in their windows.

Marijuana smoking adults should have convenient places to legally buy marijuana that is tested for quality while non-smokers should barely even notice that these new businesses exist.

The law doesn’t officially go into effect until 30 days after the election, which is December 6th. That is when it will be legal for adults to possess marijuana, but it will probably be between several months to a year before WSLCB is able to start licensing growers and retailers. How long it will actually be until adults in the state are able to simply walk into a store and legally buy some marijuana will likely also depend on if/how the federal government reacts.

Photo by boodoo under Creative Commons license.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at