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


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.

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.

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.

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