Washington Governor Signs Bill Banning Open Cannabis Containers in Cars
Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently signed House Bill 1276 into law, a proposal that makes multiple changes to the state’s impaired driving laws. Among the changes is a provision explicitly prohibiting open cannabis containers – such as bags and wrappers with half eaten edibles – from being located inside a vehicle.
The new law, which goes into effect September 26th, makes it so that it’s illegal to have any non-sealed cannabis container in a vehicle’s driver or passenger area. A non-sealed cannabis container is described as any package where the seal has been broken or the contents have been “partially removed”. This would apply to any cannabis not purchased at a state-licensed store, where packages are sealed and label.
Those who do have open containers of cannabis will be required to keep the cannabis in their trunks, or in the row of seats behind the driver.
According to Shelly Baldwin, a spokeswoman for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, the agency asked lawmakers to make the change to bring cannabis in line with open-container laws that are in place for alcohol.
The new law also restores the Department of Licensing’s ability to automatically suspend a person’s driver’s license if a blood test shows he or she has at least 5 ng/ml of THC in their blood (or if they have less but an officer still finds that person to be “legally impaired”).
The full text of House Bill 1276 can be found by clicking here.