A beginner's guide to using cannabis in Washington state

So, you've decided to add a little cannabis into your life. Congratulations. Whether you've recently graduated to adulthood or are a new resident of Washington state, there are a few things you should know before you begin. Let's lay the groundwork.

All about the product

There is a multitude of ways to consume cannabis today, and most don't involve inhaling any smoke. Users can find high-quality cannabis products professionally packaged in edible (and drinkable!) form, as well as vapes, tinctures and even lotions. Just be smart about your purchases. If you're new to cannabis, maybe think twice about that 100-milligram bottle of Ray's Lemonade.

Laying down the law

There are a ton of rules regarding marijuana in Washington — most of them are for businesses. For consumers, it's pretty straightforward. Treat it like you would alcohol. The big takeaways: Don't use it unless you're 21, don't drive under the influence, don't purchase it for minors. Keep in mind that a police officer can arrest a driver for appearing (or potentially smelling) under the influence.

Where to use it?

Unlike alcohol, there are no weed bars in Washington state. According to state law, you can't even open a package of cannabis product in view of the general public or in a "public place," let alone use it.

You might smell it wafting from behind a music venue or at a festival, but be mindful that you're not supposed to do that.


Maybe the recent pandemic has turned you into a green thumb. Could you grow your own? Yes and no. Marijuana used recreationally must be purchased through a licensed retailer. However, Washingtonians who qualify for medical marijuana are allowed to grow up to 15 plants at home, depending on their status.

Have fun

This should go without saying. Cannabis products can be a fun adventure. Just use them wisely.

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