Weed to Know is a campaign to help provide you with the who, what and where of responsible use in Spokane County.
Retail marijuana use is legal for those ages 21 and over in Washington state and therefore Spokane County. If you choose to use marijuana, it's important to know the laws, potential risks and how you can help prevent underage marijuana use.
Retail marijuana may be legal in Washington state, but there are still rules about where you can use marijuana, just like there are with alcohol.
When it comes to marijuana use, it is illegal to open or use any form of marijuana in view of the general public. If you are caught opening or using marijuana in a public place you could be subject to a class 3 civil infraction.
Visit the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board's website or read the full text of the law here to learn more about:
Driving Under the Influence
Using marijuana and driving is dangerous because marijuana impacts alertness, concentration, coordination, slows your reaction time and makes it harder to monitor distance. Using marijuana before driving has been showed to double that chances of being in an accident and using marijuana in combination with alcohol or other substance increases that risk significantly.
The law in Washington states that driving under the influence of marijuana is against the law. For those over age 21, there is a per se limit of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood (5ng/mL). How marijuana is processed in each person's body is individual and predicting the impact of use on driving and judgment can be difficult.
Marijuana use is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 and there is a zero tolerance limit for drivers under the age of 21.
Storing Marijuana Safely in the Home
When parents, grandparents or other caregivers use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, they should properly store it, in a child-proof manner. Keep it out of reach of kids and store it in a container that has child-proof locking mechanisms.
Many marijuana products have attractive packaging and edibles in particular have packaging that could easily be mistaken for products that don't contain marijuana. Safe storage is important to keep these away from children and youth.
If marijuana in ingested by a child, they may need emergency medical help. Signs of accidental ingestion include problems walking or sitting up, difficulty breathing, and becoming sleepy. If you believe a child has ingested marijuana contact the Washington Poison Center at 800.222.1222 or call 911.
Marijuana use during childhood or adolescence is dangerous. Plus, it's illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to use marijuana recreationally.
The human brain does not fully develop until around age 26, and drugs like marijuana can have negative effects for young, developing brains. These include decreased motivation, which can impact your child's grades and relationships with peers and family. Marijuana use may also affect your child's memory and attention span, making concentrating difficult. Although negative attitudes and shifts in behavior aren't unusual for adolescents, these may occur as a result from drug use.
Youth marijuana can result in many different negative impacts, many of which can have lifelong impacts.
Risk of Addiction The younger youth are when they try marijuana, the more likely it is that they will become addicted.
Other Risky Behavior Marijuana use can interfere with judgement which can mean that youth may be more likely to engage in other risk taking behavior and experience the negative consequences of their behavior such as riding in a car with someone who is under the influence, driving under the influence themselves, or participating in risky sexual activity putting them at risk of sexually transmitted infections.
Lower Grades Statewide, 10th graders who use marijuana are more likely to report lower grades in school (Cs, Ds and Fs) compared to those who don't use. This can lead to a lower overall GPA and can affect a student's chances of getting into college and receiving financial aid. Heavy marijuana use is also linked to a lower likelihood of graduating from high school or enrolling in college.
Criminal Record If minors get caught with marijuana, they can be charged with a Minor in Possession. This can result in fines, public service hours, or loss of driver's license. If you have more than 40 grams, it is a Class "C" felony($10,000 fine and/or 10 years in jail). This may have an impact on college applications and future employment opportunities.
Financial Aid If a minor is underage and gets cited with marijuana use, he or she can lose or not be granted federal financial aid for college.
Sports Marijuana use affects timing, movement and coordination. All of these can impact a teens' ability to perform in athletics.
Possession Amounts In Washington state, only adults 21 and over can purchase and possess marijuana. There are limits on the amount of marijuana a person can have:
Sale to Minors Providing or selling marijuana to a minor under the age of 18 can result in up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Driving under the Influence It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana (5 nanograms of THC/ml of blood)
Marijuana Use Outside of the State It is illegal to travel outside of Washington State with marijuana. For more information about the law, visit the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board's website or read the full text of the law here.
MORE INFORMATION FOR TEENS
MORE INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
Have the Conversation
Talking to kids about marijuana use is important, and can help prevent them from using substances. Parents' and caregivers' attitudes toward substance use help shape kids' choices and behaviors. In fact, the more acceptable that youth believe that marijuana use is, the higher likelihood they will use marijuana. For 10th graders in the state of Washington who believe their parents think using marijuana is wrong, only 13% had used in the past 30 days. This number goes up to 59% for kids who believe their parents think using marijuana is not wrong.
There are many resources to help adults talk to kids about substance use. The National Institutes on Drug Abuse is just one of them. Among their resources are Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know. Tips for parents from this guide include:
Marijuana is an addictive substance.
People who regularly use marijuana can become addicted, which means they can't stop using it when they want to.
Those using marijuana on a regular basis often perform poorly in school, drop out of sports and other extracurricular activities, and develop interpersonal problems with friends and family. The younger a person is when starting to use marijuana, the more likely they will become addicted.
Withdrawal from marijuana use can be a sign of addiction. When people who are addicted to marijuana try to stop using, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, sleeping difficulties, anxiety, and cravings. These symptoms peak a few days after the person has stopped using marijuana and usually last for about two weeks. These symptoms can be difficult to manage, a person may relapse and continue to use marijuana.
If you or someone you know cannot stop using marijuana or other drugs, contact the Washington Recovery Help Line at 866.789.1511 for free, 24 hour per day, non-judgmental, and anonymous support.