Where You Can and Can’t Smoke Pot in Washington State
TripSavvy / Hugo Lin
Attention Washington visitors: Just because you can buy, use, and possess a limited amount of marijuana or marijuana-infused product during your visit does not mean you can smoke or consume it anywhere. It is by no means a weed free-for-all in Washington State and if you light up in the wrong place you might end up with a citation, or worse.
Where You Are Allowed
The better question is where you can’t (see below), as that list is much longer. Smoking weed is within the law if you are on private property, outside the view (or smell) of the general public. When in doubt, ask first.
At this time, state law regarding pot smoking at private clubs is still being reviewed but remains unlikely.
Where You Are Not Allowed
The places where it remains illegal to use marijuana around the state are many, so knowledge of where to avoid use will help keep you on the right side of the law. Pot smoking is definitely illegal in public and in view of the general public. In and around cities and towns, indoors and outdoors, the application of smoking and drinking laws combined with a little common sense applies. If you aren’t allowed to smoke or consume alcohol in a place, it’s a good bet that you’ll also be legally prohibited from smoking or consuming pot in any form.
If you can’t smoke tobacco somewhere, it will be illegal to smoke anything else there as well. Washington State has very strict laws about public smoking, so this rules out a long list of places, including restaurants and bars. Most hotels and places of business also have no-smoking policies.
Washington is one of the many states where having an open container of alcohol is prohibited in public places as well as in your vehicle.
Always remember that marijuana use and possession is still against federal law (national law). Many popular visitor attractions in Washington State are on federal land, including national parks, national monuments, national wildlife refuges, and national forests. Military and Department of Energy lands are also federally owned. Many mountain ski slopes are located on federal land.
While not all-inclusive, here are the highlights of the places where YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED to smoke pot or consume cannabis products in Washington State.
- In public
- In view of the general public
- At the retail shop where you bought it
- Most hotels and other accommodations
- Lounges, clubs, and bars
- Sports stadiums
- Concert venues
- All federal land, including national parks and national forests
- Some Indian reservation land
You definitely can’t smoke pot while driving a car, or even when you are a passenger. It would also be asking for trouble to smoke weed in a parked car.
Caught Smoking Pot in the Wrong Place
If the state or local law enforcement catches you smoking weed or consuming marijuana where it remains illegal, you might receive a ticket or citation and have to pay a fine. Some hotels may charge a service/cleaning fee. If you are caught with marijuana by federal agents on federal lands, the penalty may include a citation, losing your driver’s license, performing community service, and/or a probationary sentence.
Just because you can buy, use, and possess marijuana in Washington, doesn't mean you can freely smoke wherever you want. Learn the limitations.
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Where Can I Legally Consume Marijuana in Seattle?
February 25, 2020
Legal Cannabis Consumption: Where can I smoke weed in Seattle, WA?
I just want to get high
Ah, the Emerald City. Home of rain, tasty coffee, big business, and of course, legal pot. As convenient as it is having weed so readily available, from having a Seattle dispensary down the street from your favorite coffee shop to the high number of 420-friendly events across the city, it’s not a cannabis free-for-all out here.
If you find yourself wondering, “where can I legally consume marijuana in Seattle?”, that’s a good thing. You can’t consume it everywhere, and you should know the rules before landing yourself in hot water.
Federal vs. State law
Before we dive into the specifics of where you can and can’t smoke marijuana in Seattle, we need to go over the basic law.
Cannabis is legal under state law , meaning the cannabis laws in Washington are only effective in Washington. They do not exist outside of the state. Every state with legal adult-use cannabis is only legal at a state level.
In contrast, cannabis is illegal on a federal level across the nation. Federal laws apply to the whole nation, meaning that despite being legal on many state levels, cannabis is not legal federally.
Okay, now that we are clear on the difference between federal and state law, we can take a better look at where you can legally consume marijuana in Seattle.
Where can I legally consume marijuana in Seattle?
There are some important rules of thumb to keep in mind when deciding where to toke up. Possibly the most important is in private, never public!
Private vs public property
Seattle’s city rules prohibit the use of marijuana on public property . This means you cannot open packaging or consume the plant in “ view of the general public or in a public place.“
Public view, while fairly self-explanatory, can be a bit difficult to judge if you’re not familiar with the marijuana laws. According to the city, public views include on the sidewalks, streets, or even public parks.
The city further describes a “public place” to include alleys, buildings or grounds used for school, public dance halls, establishments selling beer, public meeting halls, restaurants, theaters, stores, publicly owned beaches, parks, playgrounds, or “ any other place of like or similar nature to which the general public has unrestricted right of access .”
Basically, if people can get to it, it’s public and you shouldn’t be consuming it. Private property is a different story. This is where legal use comes into play. If you live on private property with private beach access, for example, you can consume on that property given all owners of the property are in agreeance.
The state law in Washington protects the rights to private marijuana use. This means consumption on a private property is legal, provided the property owner is okay with it.
What about in nature?
While the laws are fairly clear about public vs private use, it can still be difficult to navigate some tricky situations. As a general rule, if it’s not in private, it’s probably not okay.
Let’s say you’re out hiking. Federal law applies to national parks, meaning any consumption on federal land can get you in trouble. State parks are subject to state law, which, again, says public view is against the law. Either way, marijuana consumption is not legal.
If you’re out on a boat, the Coast Guard says they will enforce federal law in navigable waters. It’s also important to keep in mind that if you’re consuming while boating, you may be breaking more laws which prohibit operating a boat under the influence.
Some of you may be feeling pretty bummed right now. What’s better than cannabis and nature? Despite the rules, many people practice discretion and use cannabis freely in public spaces while being respectful of other passersby who may not like the smell. Realistically though, this could eventually land you in trouble and we don’t recommend it.
There are ways to get your nature and cannabis fix as one. Rose Creek Retreat , for example, is a campground near Seattle where you can rent private, cannabis-friendly lots in nature.
As far as finding private, accessible nature in Seattle to toke up in, you may have better luck finding a 420 friend with a nice backyard in the city.
What about hotels?
Indoor smoking is subject to the state’s Smoking in Public Places law. The law says smoking in a public place or place of employment or within 25 feet of entrances, exits, open windows, and ventilation is illegal.
Some hotels will allow smoking or vaporizing in their rooms. If so, and they’ve specified cannabis is okay, you can legally consume in a private hotel.
It’s good to check ahead of time if a hotel can accommodate cannabis users. If you’re struggling to find proper lodging, we recommend looking at other sites like Airbnb, where you may have better luck finding 420-friendly lodging.
Discreet cannabis use in Seattle
You may be thinking you’ve got a master plan around the consumption rules in the city with a secret weapon: edibles. While this is definitely a more discreet method of consumption, the laws remain the same. It’s illegal in public places and federal land.
Getting caught nonchalantly eating edibles may be less likely than getting caught puffing on a smelly joint in the park, but if it happens, the law makes no distinction.
What constitutes as marijuana in Seattle?
The law says it is illegal to open or consume “usable marijuana, marijuana-infused products, or marijuana concentrates, reasonably identifiable by sight or smell.”
Marijuana is defined as all parts of the plant with a THC percentage above 0.3 percent at dry weight. This includes seeds, extracts, all compounds, mixtures, and preparations of the plant.
It does not include mature stalks of the plant or fiber produced from its stalks. Oil, cake, fibers, and other derivatives of the plant’s stalks which are unable to germinate are not considered marijuana in this context.
Marijuana concentrates are products with all or part of the resin extracted from the plant and containing at least 60 percent THC. Infused products are defined as anything that contains marijuana or extracts with over 0.3 percent THC, but under 60 percent.
The bottom line for marijuana consumption in Seattle
We’re pretty lucky to have access to legal cannabis here in the state. It’s nice to be able to visit a Seattle pot shop at basically any corner of the city, knowing the industry is thriving and users finally have access to the plant.
The legal status of marijuana in the state does not mean Seattleites can do whatever they want. There are still rules to follow. The rules are important to know because, while legal on a state level, cannabis is illegal federally and can be a crime to possess in many contexts.
When in doubt, put it out. If you’re in a national park, you can rest assured you’re on federal land which is a crime to consume in. If you’re in any public accessible space, consumption is illegal as well. Consume marijuana in private, as the law states.
You can still have a blast with cannabis in Seattle. Stop by our Seattle Fremont Cannabis shop and stock up on goodies (to consume in the privacy of your own place or a 420-friendly property) and explore!
In Washington, public intoxication is considered a social ill, not a crime . However, you can still get in trouble for acting erratically or breaking the law while under the influence. Know your limits, be safe, and of course, have fun!
Satori MJ is a recreational cannabis shop featuring many dispensary locations ! Check us on out on Yelp , Leafly , Instagram , Facebook , Google and Twitter.
Legal Cannabis Consumption: Where can I smoke weed in Seattle, WA? I just want to get high Ah, the Emerald City. Home of rain, tasty coffee, big business…