It’s been over three and a half years since voters in Washington State gave approval to Initiative 502, legalizing the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for those 21 and older. Thousands of arrest have been prevented since the law took effect, and millions in dollars of taxes have been garnered for the state. With this in mind, it can be hard to believe – and is incredibly eyeopening to see – some of the laws currently on the books in the state regarding cannabis.
For example, possessing up to 28 grams of cannabis is legal if you’re 21 or older, as established above. However, if you possess 41 grams – less than an ounce and a half – you’re committing a class C felony; this is also true of sharing any amount, including passing a joint or pipe to another person who’s 21 or older. If you’re caught, and prosecuted, you could be imprisoned for up to five years.
This is, at least in our opinions, complete insanity. You can legally purchase an ounce, but if you’re in possession of 50% more than that, you’re committing a crime that comes with the same potential charge as Unlawful Imprisonment (RCW 9A.40.040), Rape of a Child in the Third Degree (RCW 9a.44.079) and Reckless Burning in the First Degree (RCW 9A.48.040), among other heinous crimes.
Because of this massive disparity in the law, it’s vital for those that know about it to educate the public, especially those they know who consume cannabis. It’s also vital for those in Washington who support reforming this law to contact lawmakers to urge them to defelonize the possession of cannabis for personal use.
Those in Washington can look up their district’s legislators by clicking here.