In July, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1276, a proposal that makes multiple changes to the state’s impaired driving laws, including explicitly prohibiting open cannabis containers in cars. Now, the law is in full effect, and state police are ramping up efforts to find those breaking the law.
Under the new law, anyone with a cannabis package where the seal has been broken or the contents have been “partially removed” can be ticked with an $136 ticket. This would apply to any cannabis not purchased at a state-licensed store, where packages are sealed and label, given that officers can request that you show them a receipt for your purchase.
Those who do have open containers of cannabis will be required to keep the cannabis in their trunks, or out-of-sight in the row of seats behind the driver.
The change in the law was requested by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 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.