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.

Ethan Nadelmann on CNN: Possession of Marijuana Becomes Legal in Washington State

Washington and Colorado voters made history on Election Day when they voted to tax and regulate marijuana. Starting December 6, 2012, people aged 21 and over will be able to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana in Washington State. Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance discusses the historic victories on CNN on 12/5/12.

December 6: Historic Day as Washington Marijuana Legalization Law Takes Effect

Possession of Marijuana Becomes Legal in Washington State

Starting tomorrow, people aged 21 and over will be able to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana in Washington State. On Election Day last month, 55 percent of voters in both Washington State and Colorado voted to make marijuana legal, making those states the first two to approve legally regulating marijuana like alcohol. The Washington State Liquor Control Board has until December of next year to implement rules for the regulated market.

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

Washington State and Colorado Will Lead the Way Towards Sensible Drug Laws

Washington State and Colorado made history tonight by becoming the first states in the United States - to approve the legal regulation of marijuana.
 

Washington I-502

November 6, 2012

This is the law that was passed by the voters in Washington State legalizing and regulating marijuana.

Colorado and Washington State Make History, Become First U.S. States To Regulate, Tax and Control Marijuana Like Alcohol

Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Measure Also Passes

Statement from Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance

Colorado and Washington have become not just the first U.S. states – but the first political jurisdictions anywhere in the world – to approve regulating, taxing and controlling marijuana similar to alcohol.

The Drug Policy Alliance and its electoral arm, Drug Policy Action, worked closely with local and national allies to draft these initiatives, build coalitions and raise funds.

Contact: Ethan Nadelmann (646-335-2240)

Tomorrow: Colorado, Oregon and Washington Voters Head to Polls for Historic Vote to Legally Regulate Marijuana

Drug Policy Alliance Spokespeople Available for Comment

Colorado, Oregon and Washington voters head to the polls tomorrow to decide the fate of ballot initiatives that would end marijuana prohibition in their respective states.  A win at the ballot would be a first of its kind in U.S. history.

The latest polls show that slight majorities in Colorado and Washington support the initiatives. The Drug Policy Alliance and its electoral arm, Drug Policy Action, have worked closely with local and national allies to draft these initiatives, build coalitions and raise funds.

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

240,000 Marijuana Arrests: Costs, Consequences, and Racial Disparities of Possession Arrests in Washington, 1986 - 2010

October 11, 2012

This report reveals that nearly a quarter of a million people have been arrested in Washington for marijuana possession from 1986 to 2010.  Police made more than half of those marijuana arrests in just the last 10 years.

Other key findings include:

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