Washington State

How does your state measure up when it comes to establishing policies that reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition?

Harm Reduction


Does the state permit access to clean syringes for people who inject drugs?

  • YES

Does the state have naloxone training & distribution programs available to the public at syringe exchange programs or other facilities?

  • YES

Does the state have a 911 Good Samaritan law?

  • YES

Does the state have legal methadone access?

  • YES

Marijuana


Are marijuana possession and use legal for medical purposes?

Is there a government-regulated distribution system for medical marijuana?

  • YES

More information on medical marijuana:

What are the criminal penalties for marijuana possession?

Criminal Justice


How many people are arrested for a drug offense each year?

  • 19,414

What are the racial disparities in arrest rates?

  • Total population (2011): white: 81.9%, black: 4.9%, other: 13.1%.
    Drug arrests (2011): 85.0% white, 10.1% black.

What happens to people’s voting rights when they become part of the criminal justice system?

  • All persons with a felony conviction must re-register to vote after completion of their sentence and all parole and probation. However, the Secretary of State's website states that persons who have willfully failed to make three payments in a 12 month period on any court imposed fines may have their ability to vote revoked by the prosecutor.

Revenue Up, Crime Down: Marijuana Legalization in Colorado and Washington

September 29, 2014

This fact sheet looks at the numbers post-marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington.

President Obama: Marijuana No More Dangerous Than Alcohol

Obama Calls New Laws Legalizing Marijuana in Colorado and Washington 'Important'

In an interview with the New Yorker published Sunday, President Obama spoke about his past drug use, said marijuana was no more dangerous than alcohol, talked about racial disparities in marijuana arrests and said the new laws legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington are ‘important.’

Excerpts from the interview by David Remnick of the New Yorker where Obama talked about drugs and the war on drugs include:

Contact: Tony Newman (646) 335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann (646) 335-2240

Initial evaluation of the impact of Washington's 911 Good Samaritan Law

November 1, 2011

Initial findings of a study on the implementation of Washington's 911 Good Samaritan Law from the University of Washington's Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute. 88% of opiate users indicated that now that they were aware of the law they would be more likely to call 911 during future overdoses.

WA State Good Samaritan Law (§ 69.50.215 - 2010)

June 9, 2010

This is the text of Washington State's Good Samaritan law.

Law Atlas map of states with Good Samaritan laws

This in an online interactive resource for visualizing the states with Good Samaritan laws.

Full Page New York Times Ad in Thursday Paper: "80 Years After the End of Prohibition, Prohibition is Finally Coming to an End"

Drug Policy Alliance Thanks Colorado and Washington Voters, Pat Robertson, Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NJ Gov. Chris Christie, and Presidents of Colombia, Guatemala and Uruguay

Comes on Heels of Obama Response to Marijuana Legalization in Colorado and Washington: "We’ve Got Bigger Fish to Fry"

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy: "Legislative Options Exist" to Resolve Potential Federal/State Conflict Over Marijuana Legalization in Colorado and Washington

Seeks Assurances From Obama Administration That State Officials Will Not Be Prosecuted For Implementing New Laws

Statement from Drug Policy Alliance’s Ethan Nadelmann

In a letter to U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked how the federal government intends to deal with states like Colorado and Washington that recently voted to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol. In the letter, Senator Leahy also suggested that federal legislation could be introduced to legalize up to an ounce of marijuana, at least in states that have legalized marijuana.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240

What does marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington mean for the rest of the country?

December 5, 2012

Amanda Reiman, Policy manager at DPA, talks with Cannabis Consciousness about the fine details of the marijuana regulation and taxation laws in Colorado and Washington, and the impact it will have on drug policy nationally.

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