Weed 101

As you consider enjoying this new industry, make sure you know the law. Here are the do's and don'ts.

Weed 101
Jim Campbell

DO THIS: Bring your ID, because you'll have to prove you're 21 or older to buy.

NOT THAT: Share with minors. Or anyone, in fact. Technically, it's still a felony to distribute marijuana (that includes even just gifting to a friend). But keeping pot out of the hands of those younger than 21 is an especially high law enforcement priority in the new legal market.

DO THIS: Feel free to come to Spokane from Coeur d'Alene or Post Falls to buy pot.

NOT THAT: Take that weed back across the border to the very not-weed-friendly Idaho, or into national parks or onto federally owned land. No matter what Washington or Colorado law says, the drug remains federally illegal. Similarly, don't include pot or pot-infused products in your next care package. The feds control the postal service.

DO THIS: Enjoy it on any private property where you know the owner is cool with it.

NOT THAT: Smoke in Manito Park or any other public space. Seriously: this is a big deal, and you will not be spared by law enforcement for not knowing the rules. Just opening a container or package containing marijuana or an infused product in view of the general public can get you a $50 ticket.

DO THIS: Read labels carefully. Producers and processors are required to have their products tested and labeled with potency and other details. While you're at it, keep an eye out for suggested serving sizes. Edibles, for example, can be deceptively strong and it's easy to eat too much.

NOT THAT: Smoke in an apartment building or hotel room without permission from the owner. While this is somewhat ambiguous, and it's not expressly against state law to use marijuana without a landowner's permission, you could be violating a lease agreement or clean air laws if you're smoking.

DO THIS: Keep marijuana packaging closed while it's in your car. (It's legal to have it in your vehicle; just don't open it).

NOT THAT: Drive soon after enjoying this newly legal substance in any form. Driving under the influence of marijuana has always been illegal, and that hasn't changed because it's now legal. The law now includes DUI-like limits on THC, marijuana's active ingredient, and if officers believe you are impaired, they can ask for a blood test.

DO THIS: Check with your employer about his or her marijuana policy. While this issue is likely to see a court case in coming years, employers are currently still allowed to prohibit cannabis use.

NOT THAT: Smoke weed on the evening news. Your boss might be watching.

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About The Author

Heidi Groover

Heidi Groover is a staff writer at the Inlander, where she covers city government and drug policy. On the job, she's spent time with prostitutes, "street kids," marriage equality advocates and the family of a 16-year-old organ donor...