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Washington Cannabis Laws: What You Need to Know


The state of Washington is no stranger to legal cannabis. In fact, back in 1998, Initiative 692 allowed patients with certain terminal or debilitating conditions to use cannabis for medical use. Washington was also one of the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012 with the passage of Initiative 502Now cannabis businesses – and their employees – face unique compliance and regulatory requirements unlike any other industry. So, if you want to succeed in this state’s cannabis market, you must understand the Washington cannabis laws on recreational and medical use. This post was created based on the legal text in the Washington State Legislature, specifically Chapter 314-55 WAC


Read on for a clear explanation of the confusing legal jargon that cannabis businesses must understand to remain compliant and keep their doors open. 


General cannabis business requirements 

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) also called “The Board” regulates and enforces all cannabis licensing. In particular, the state of Washington uses the Cannabis Central Reporting System (CCRS) as its in-house track and trace system for cannabis. Furthermore, this system tracks the cannabis plant from seed to sale to ensure all cannabis products for medical and recreational use are accounted for and properly reported. 


State-licensed cannabis businesses are required to meet some general regulations in order to remain compliant, including:

  • You must be 21 or older to apply for, own, or work at a cannabis business.
  • Businesses must post “Minors restricted” signs. 
  • Personal residences and other locations where law enforcement are limited are not viable cannabis business locations. 
  • Cannabis businesses cannot operate within another business.
  • Businesses must use sanitary practices when conducting business.
  • Consumption of cannabis is not allowed on or within licensed premises.


Prohibited practices:

  • Cannabis growers, processors and dispensaries cannot provide:  
    • Gifts
    • Discounts
    • Loans of money
    • Premiums
    • Rebates
    • Free products of any kind 
  • Industry members can’t sell cannabis to licensees or solicit cannabis for any order tied in with the licensee’s purchase of some other cannabis.


Washington cannabis laws: Insurance requirements  

Washington Cannabis Laws: Insurance requirements

Cannabis licensees need insurance coverage to protect the consumer should there be any claims, suits, actions, costs, damages or expenses arising from any negligent or intentional act or omission of the marijuana licensees. 


Commercial general liability insurance: 

  • Cannabis businesses need commercial general liability insurance or commercial umbrella insurance for bodily injury and property damage.
  • The liability insurance limit must be at least one million dollars.
  • Insurance must also cover bodily injury, including disease, illness and death, and property damage.


Insurance carrier rating

  •  An insurance company authorized to do business within the state of Washington must issue the the required insurance.


Washington cannabis laws: Purchase limits


A single cannabis transaction is limited to:

  • One ounce of useable cannabis
  • Sixteen ounces of marijuana-infused product 
  • Seven grams of cannabis-infused extract or cannabis concentrate for inhalation
  • Seventy-two ounces of cannabis-infused product in liquid form for oral ingestion or applied topically to the skin
  • Ten units of a cannabis-infused product otherwise taken into the body.


Washington cannabis laws: Security requirements

Washington Cannabis Laws: Security Requirements

The security requirements for a cannabis business are as follows:

  1. Display of identification badge 
  • Everyone at a cannabis business (including employees) is required to hold and properly display an ID badge issued by the employer. 
  • The badge must list the licensee’s trade name and include the person’s full, legal name and photograph.
  • Only retail store customers do not have to hold and display an ID badge at all times in a licensed cannabis business.
  1. Alarm systems

Every cannabis business in Washington has to have an alarm system on all perimeter entry points and perimeter windows. 

You can also use motion detectors, pressure switches, duress, panic, and hold up alarms for a more comprehensive security plan.

Check out Safe and Sound Security for security solutions built for Washington. 

  1. Surveillance system

Cannabis businesses also need a complete video surveillance system that meets these requirements: 

  • Must have a resolution of at least 640 x 470 pixels.
  • System storage devices and cameras must be internet protocol (IP) compatible. 
  • All cameras must allow for the “clear and certain identification of any person and activities in controlled areas of the licensed premises.” 
  • All entrances and exits to an indoor cannabis facility must be recorded from “both indoor and outdoor, or ingress and egress vantage points.” 
  • Cameras must record continuously 24 hours per day at a minimum of 10 frames per second. 
  1. Traceability 

Cannabis businesses and providers must track cannabis from seed to sale. As a matter of fact, licensees must provide the required information on a system specified by the WSLCB. Additionally, the licensee bears all costs related to the reporting requirements.



Washington cannabis laws: Taxes

According to state law, Washington imposes a 37% cannabis excise tax at the time of retail sale. In addition, most marijuana sales are subject to normal retail sales taxes, and cannabis businesses are subject to business and occupation taxes.



Frequently asked questions (FAQ): Cannabis laws in Washington


  • How much cannabis can I buy in Washington? 

Adults 21 and over can purchase any combination of the following from a licensed retail cannabis store:

  • One ounce of usable cannabis
  • Sixteen ounces of cannabis-infused product in solid form
  • Seventy-two ounces of cannabis-infused product in liquid form, or
  • Seven grams of cannabis concentrate


Qualifying patients who are entered into the medical cannabis database may legally purchase any combination of the following from a medical cannabis store (with no sales tax):

  • Three ounces of usable cannabis
  • Forty-eight ounces of cannabis-infused product in solid form
  • Two hundred sixteen ounces of cannabis-infused product in liquid form or
  • Twenty-one grams of cannabis concentrate


  • What are the laws for edibles in Washington?

The THC limit for edibles in Washington is 10 mg per serving. Therefore, no individual cannabis edible can contain more than 10 mg of THC.


  • Can you sell cannabis in Washington? 

Only state-licensed cannabis retailers can sell marijuana in Washington. Emphatically, any other sale of cannabis is criminal, as is any production or processing of cannabis for sale outside the state-licensed regulated system.


  • Do I need a certification for the Washington cannabis industry?

Becoming cannabis certified in Washington is an effective tool for aspiring or current cannabis employees and business owners. THC University offers a Washington cannabis laws course to help you build a foundational understanding of the state’s unique cannabis regulations. 



Get Washington cannabis laws training today! 

Washington Cannabis Laws: THC University course

In summary, there is much more to learn and understand regarding the Washington state cannabis laws. THC University has a course specifically tailored to training employees, managers, and current/aspiring cannabis business owners in the state of Washington


Specifically, the course lays down the fundamental requirements and strategies that go along with Washington’s cannabis industry. Regulations can seem daunting, but we have made the course easy-to-digest and interactive. Keep yourself, your team and your business safe by truly understanding the cannabis laws in Washington.


Learn more about THC University’s WA Cannabis Regulations Course here!