Q. What is marijuana, and where does it come from?

A: Marijuana comes from the cannabis plant, which grows naturally all around the world. It is commonly known by many names, including weed, pot, grass, herb and ganja, among others. Marijuana is a product of the cannabis plant that is used medically to treat numerous ailments and conditions, and recreationally as a psychoactive drug.

Q: What compounds does marijuana contain, and how do they affect the human brain?

A: The cannabis plant contains 483 known compounds, including at least 60 active cannabinoids—chemical compounds that affect neurotransmitter release in the brain. Some of the most commonly known cannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant; and cannabidiol (CBD), which contains anti-psychoactive effects, can treat many major medical conditions, and accounts for up to 40% of the cannabis plant’s extract.

Q. What are Indica and Sativa, and how are they different?

A: Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa are the two main varieties of cannabis plants, and both can be mixed together to create hybrid strains. Each cannabis strain has a unique range of effects on the human body and brain. Indica plants typically grow short and wide and are better suited for growing indoors, whereas Sativa plants grow tall and thin and are better suited for growing outside. Indica strains typically have a CBD:THC ratio that is four or five times higher than Sativa strains. Strains with high CBD:THC ratios are typically less likely to induce anxiety when consumed because of how CBDs affect the cannabinoid receptors in the brain as compared to how THCs affect those receptors. Furthermore, Indica strains with high CBD concentrations and low THC concentrations typically produce relaxing, sedative effects, and are best suited for nighttime use, while Sativa strains with low CBD concentrations and high THC concentrations typically produce a “high” effect that is more uplifting and energetic, and are best suited for daytime use.

Marijuana strains range from pure Indica and Sativa strains to hybrid strains that contain various combinations of both Indica and Sativa, and can be tailored to produce specific effects. Indica-dominant strains usually have a strong sweet or sour odor and provide relaxing effects that some may find helpful if they experience anxiety, body pain, seizures, muscle spasms, headaches and sleeping disorders. Sativa-dominant marijuana strains usually have a grassy odor and provide uplifting, energetic effects and a “high” feeling that some find helpful for inducing creativity and energy while increasing focus and potentially combating depression. Check out our Marijuana Strains Page to read more about our specific Indica, Sativa and hybrid strains.

Q. What methods of consumption are available for Marijuana?

A: Marijuana can be consumed in a variety of different ways, including smoking it through pipes, bongs, joints, blunts, roach clips and other items; using a vaporizer to consume it in a vaporized state; drinking it in cannabis-infused teas, sodas and tinctures; eating it in a variety of infused edibles, including candies, baked goods and more; and using it topically in ointments.

Q. Who can purchase recreational marijuana?

A: You must be 21 or older with a valid government-issued photo ID to buy recreational marijuana.

Q. Are the retail marijuana dispensaries run by the state?

A. Stores are licensed and regulated by the WSLCB but are private-sector businesses.

Q. Do I have to be a resident of Washington to purchase recreational marijuana in Washington?

A: No, non-Washington residents who are 21 or older with a valid ID may purchase recreational marijuana at a retail dispensary.

Q. Are there limits to the quantity of marijuana I can purchase from your store? What are those limits?

Yes, there are limits to how much marijuana you can purchase and possess at one time. You can only hold one ounce of marijuana flower (28 grams), 7 grams of extract for inhalation, 16 ounces of infused product in solid form, or 72 oz. in beverage form for both edibles and topicals.

Q. Where am I allowed to consume marijuana?

A: Adults ages 21 and older are allowed to consume marijuana in private only. You can use marijuana on private property where the owner allows. Marijuana cannot be consumed in public places like stores, restaurants and parking lots, or at public gatherings such as concerts and events. Much like having an open container of alcohol in public, doing so could result in a civil infraction—like a ticket—but not arrest. You can certainly use marijuana in the privacy of your own home. Additionally, if smoking a cigarette isn’t allowed where you are (say, inside an apartment building, restaurant, public space or flammable chemical factory); smoking marijuana isn’t allowed there either.

Please note that the initiative says it “is unlawful to open a package containing marijuana in view of the general public”. Something to keep in mind.

Q. If I purchase marijuana in Washington, can I take it with me to another state or country?

A: No, possessing marijuana while traveling outside of Colorado state lines is strictly prohibited, and possession of marijuana is prohibited at Denver International Airport.

Q. Is there anything I should not do while under the influence of marijuana?

A: You should be safe, know your limits, and should not operate heavy machinery or operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Marijuana consumption is regulated similar to alcohol, and individuals may not drive under the influence of marijuana. You can be ticketed for impaired driving if your blood registers more than 5 nanograms of active THC.

Q. Do the strains available in your retail dispensary undergo any testing to ensure safety?

All marijuana in Washington is pre-packaged after samples have been submitted to a lab for quality control testing. Each strain of pot contains information known as a “potency profile,” which will give users better control over their marijuana experience. Testing labs determine the relative amounts of THC—the psychoactive component in marijuana, but also a number of other components known as “cannabinoids” including CBD, thought to alleviate seizures and pain, and CBN, which is thought to enhanced the psychoactive experience but can also promote sleep. State-approved testing facilities also screen pot for mold, pesticides, and other contaminants that are common in black-market marijuana.

Q. What is Washington State Initiative 502?

A. I-502 decriminalized recreational use and limited possession (up to one ounce) of cannabis, 16 ounces of marijuana infused product in solid form or 72 ounces of marijuana infused product in liquid form under Washington law for adults 21 years of age and older. I-502 also established a system in which marijuana is regulated, taxed, and distributed similarly to alcohol. The law went into effect on December 1, 2013. The Washington State Liquor Control Board’s website has links to various resources and will be adding additional information over time.

Q. What is the federal government going to do?

A. On August 29, 2013 Attorney General Eric Holder called both Governors Jay Inslee and John Hickenlooper (Colorado) to outline the federal government’s guidance on legalized marijuana. That guidance was also outlined in a memo which focuses on eight points of federal emphasis such as youth access and public safety which the LCB’s rules address. The regulatory system for marijuana, and the rules written by the Board appears to meet those eight points. The memo does not change federal law. Governor Inslee’s office is maintaining an open dialogue with the federal government and the WSLCB is moving forward to carry out the expectations of the agency under the new law.

Q. What about industrial hemp? Does this create a new market for hemp products?

A. No. The law is focused on legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. The law modifies the definition of “marijuana” to include only cannabis greater than 0.3 percent THC concentration. Cannabis under this limit – industrial hemp – is not treated as recreational “marijuana.”

Q. How much tax revenue will marijuana sales generate?

A. You can find the most recent financial data on the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) website on their Frequently Requested Lists page.

Q. How is it going to be taxed?

A. Effective July 1, 2015, tax reforms defined in HB 2136 change the existing marijuana excise tax structure. A 37 percent marijuana excise tax must now be collected exclusively at the retail level. In addition, B&O taxes on the production and local retail sales taxes apply.

Q. Marijuana tax rates are too high, can you lower them?

A. Any change to the current tax structure would have to come from the legislature.