With the passage of I-502, possession of certain amounts of marijuana becomes legal next week. The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has published a list of frequently asked questions about what is and isn’t okay in unincorporated Snohomish County. Here it is for your reference…
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has released and posted the following information to assist the agency’s officers and staff, as well as the public, to clarify the impact Initiative 502 (I-502) may have in Snohomish County:
Legalization of marijuana possession for adults 21 and older: On December 6, 2012, adults age 21 and older may legally possess the following:
•One ounce (28.3 grams) or less of marijuana;
•Sixteen ounces of marijuana-infused product (in solid form);
•Seventy-two ounces of marijuana-infused product (in liquid form);
•Possession, use, and sale of marijuana-related drug paraphernalia will no longer be a crime or civil infraction.
•Until the State comes up with licensing guidelines there is no legal way for people to legally obtain marijuana, except for medical marijuana recipients.
Possession of marijuana exceeding legal amounts: Despite the legalization of certain amounts of marijuana for adults age 21 and older, the following remain criminal offenses:
•Possession of between 28.3 grams and 40 grams of marijuana will continue to be a misdemeanor crime;
•Possession of more than 40 grams of marijuana continues to be a Class C felony crime;
Possession of marijuana by persons under the age of 21: Possession of any amount of marijuana by a person under 21 years of age will remain a crime.
Manufacture and distribution of marijuana: While possession may be legal in some cases, the manufacture, sale and/or delivery of marijuana will continue to be a crime.
Displaying or consuming marijuana or a marijuana-infused product in view of the general public is a class 3 civil infraction. Similar to the consumption of alcohol in public, consuming marijuana in public will be illegal. This includes National Forest lands.
Legal definition of marijuana: The law added language to the definition of marijuana. Any part of the cannabis plant (whether growing or not), with a THC concentration greater than 0.3 percent of a dry weight basis is considered marijuana.
The laws regarding medical marijuana remain unchanged: Under RCW 69.51A.040, a qualifying patient or designated provider may possess no more than 15 cannabis plants and:
•No more than 24 ounces of useable cannabis;
•No more cannabis product than what could reasonably be produced with no more than twenty-four ounces of useable cannabis; or
•A combination of useable cannabis and cannabis product that does not exceed a combined total representing possession and processing of no more than 24 ounces of useable cannabis.
•If a person is both a qualifying patient and a designated provider for another qualifying patient, the person may possess no more than twice the amounts described above, whether the plants, useable cannabis, and cannabis product are possessed individually or in combination between the qualifying patient and his or her designated provider.
Amendments to impaired driving laws: SCSO deputies and officers can take a person suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana into custody and to a nearby hospital for a blood draw to measure THC levels.
RCW 46.20.308 (Implied Consent Warnings):
•After December 6, 2012, a person driving upon Washington’s roadways is presumed to have given consent to a test of his or her blood for the purposes of determining THC concentration.
•If an officer has reasonable grounds to suspect the driver is driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, the officer will read the implied consent warning for blood and request the driver to submit to a blood draw.
•The Impaired Driving Section (IDS) has revised the implied consent warning for blood draws.
RCW 46.61.502 (Driving Under the Influence) and RCW 46.61.504 (Physical Control of a Vehicle Under the Influence):
•RCW 46.61.502 (Driving Under the Influence): After December 6, 2012, a person is guilty of driving under the influence if he or she at the time of driving has THC concentration of 5.00 ng/mL or higher within two hours of driving as shown by a test of the person’s blood.
•RCW 46.61.504 (Physical Control of a Vehicle Under the Influence): After December 6, 2012, a person is guilty of being in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence if: (1) the person had actual physical control of a motor vehicle; and (2) the person has, within two hours after being in actual physical control of a vehicle, a THC concentration of 5.00 ng/mL or higher as shown by an analysis of the person’s blood.
RCW 46.61.503 (Driver Under Twenty-one After Consuming Alcohol or Marijuana):
•After December 6, 2012, a person is guilty of driving or being in physical control of a motor vehicle after consuming marijuana if: (1) the person is under the age of 21; (2) the person is driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle; and (3) the person has a blood THC concentration over 0.00 ng/mL but less than 5.00 ng/mL within two hours after driving or being in physical control of the motor vehicle as shown by an accurate test of the person’s blood.
•Impairment is not an element of this offense.
•Offense must occur in officer’s presence.
•Must have individualized probable cause that the driver consumed marijuana.
•Must use implied consent warnings.
Impacts in the Sheriff’s Office Workplace: I-502 does NOT legalize marijuana use in the workplace. It also does not alter employment conditions of the employer. The Sheriff’s Office drug policies will remain unchanged and all SCSO Office employees are bound to the constitutional, criminal, and civil laws of the city, county, state and federal government.