Washington Medical Marijuana Laws

Cannabis for medical use in Washington became legal on November 3, 1998 under the auspices of Chapter 69.51a RCW: Medical marijuana. The law was updated on July 1, 2008 and again on November 2, 2008.

The law removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients.  Documentation from the patient’s physician is no longer required for the allowed 60 days supply.  The Final Rule states that documentation from the patient’s physician as to necessity of use will help the qualifying patient to overcome the presumptive limit.

Conditions Approved for Use of Medical Marijuana in Washington

  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diseases*, including Anorexia, which result in:
    • nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Wasting
    • Appetite Loss
    • Cramping
    • Seizures
    • Muscle Spasms
    • Spasticity
  • Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Intractable pain (defined as pain unrelieved by standard treatment or medications)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Other conditions are subject to approval by the Washington Board of Health

*when these conditions are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications

Possession/Cultivation

Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess or cultivate no more than a 60-day supply of marijuana, defined by the Final Rule of November 2008 as:

  • 15 plants in any stage of growth plus
  • 24 ounces of usable marijuana

The law does not establish a state-run patient registry.

Department of Health
PO Box 47866
Olympia, WA 98504-7866
Phone: 360-236-4700
Fax: 360-236-4768
MedicalMarijuana@doh.wa.gov

WA Medical Marijuana website

More Practitioners to Prescribe Medical Marijuana

Full details of how to get a medical marijuana card in Washington.

Return to medical marijuana state laws

Update November 2012

Initiative 502, regarding the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes, was passed in the State of Washington by a convincing margin on 6th November 2012. This makes Washington, along with Colorado, the first U.S. state to legalize and tax the sale of marijuana for recreational use.

The finer details of law, which allows for the sale of marijuana to people over 21, have yet to be established. The state legislature has one year to create and implement a regulatory system that will govern the growing, labelling and taxation of marijuana. In the meantime, as of December 6th 2012 the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana will be decriminalized in Washington State.

This change in legislation does not affect current Medical Marijuana Card holders in Washington State. However, you should keep an eye open for updates to the law which may affect you.

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Comments

  1. ok im 22, ive been taking medication scince i was 5 up till i was 15. i was taking alot of medication cause i was diagnosed as bypolar adhd hyper active activity, i was finally able to stop cause a counselor told me they keeped uping my doeses and they were doing nothing but overdoing it. i TRYED marijuana and it seemed to help with everything, i was hyper i was able to pay attention in class, i hurt my shoulder and it pops out of place mostly every time, the doctors say theres nothing wrong. i was having anger problems and the marijuana calmed me down, after a year of the use i am a diffrent person like i no longer have any symptoms of anything. my ? is would they help me with a card???

  2. I am 15 and i have irregular heartbeats, depression and anxiety, would i qualify?

  3. I am 15 and I was born with bilateral clubbed feet. I have excruciating pain every single day. Nothing I take helps it, except for smoking. But I’d prefer to do it legally. I checked and I do qualify, but that’s only if I have my guardian come in and give consent. But she’s against me smoking weed, is there any way that anybody knows of that I could get it without her? (Legally)

    • Legally I doubt if it’s possible. Have you tried talking to her about other methods of ingestion? She might be more open minded towards cookies and yoghurt drinks with MMJ in them. Sometimes it’s the actual smoking that parents don’t like.

  4. You say “Documentation from the patient’s physician is no longer required for the allowed 60 days supply”.

    I take that to mean there is no requirement to carry (or otherwise possess) a recommendation from your healthcare professional on tamper-resistant paper? Everything I have read on Washington’s website has said that a “Qualifying patient” is someone who has gotten that recommendation on tamper-resistant paper, and “valid documentation” for peace officers is “A statement signed and dated by a qualifying patient’s healthcare professional” (on tamper-resistant paper) AND a valid WA state ID.

    I know that WA does not have a registry and patients aren’t required to pay for some “MMJ card”, but it appears as though (to my knowledge) the information posted above in this webpage is inaccurate or at least misleading. Did I miss something? Am I reading something wrong? Thanks for the help, this website is very useful!

  5. I have been in a accident I broke my hip and dislocated my leg I have constant pain and my medication does not stop my back and hip pain

  6. I also suffer from severe migraines and standard medication does not work for me or has addictive properties I am not willing to deal with, am I qualify for a card?

  7. I am 17 years old. I was diagnosed with Manic disorder. Pretty bad. I used to take medication for it. A bunch. I absolutly hate medication, I rarly take asprin, ibruprofin, etc. I am strongly against medication. I smoke only when I recognize the symptoms of an episode. It helps me so much. I also have a lack of appetite I go days and days without eating. Plus I have extreme cramping in my lower back. Would I qualify for a card in Washington State?

  8. i am currently 16 i have ADHD witch causes me to not sleep at night, the medication i take causes loss of appetite and strange dreams i have smooked cannibis befor and did make a drastic change in everything with sleep and appetite i talked to my perents and they said they ar willing to let me give medical marijuana a a try is it possible for me to get a medical marijuana card i live in Kennewick WA

  9. im 16 and i would like to know if my mom gives permission if i would be able to get a green card i have insomnia and i get migraines almost every other day and i have back pain most days whould i qualify for a medical marijuana card?

  10. how old do you have to be, just in case something happens to me?

    right now im 14 and have never smoked it. but i feel it may be helpful to know.

  11. I am 17 and living on my own. I am not a frequent cannabis user although I have tried it. The past 3-4 months I have have noticed an extreme loss in appetite and a nausea every time I wake up.

    Now I’m not sure if I qualify because of a few things: my age, the fact that I am living on my own and my symptoms. Anyone care to shed some light on this for me?

  12. I have a separated shoulder my left shoulder that i got about three months ago, two weeks after i separated my shoulder i got into a car accident where i was in the passenger seat, the driver hit a car in front of us sending me forward but the seat belt stopped me by way of my shoulder on my left side and the lower seat belt causing more pain.

    I have chronic pops and it hurts from time to time, would this qualify me for a card?

  13. I’m 18 and ever since i was about 5 ive had stomach pains that come and go on a near daily basis, about 75% of the time the pain is so bad i can barely move, and marijuana does help with the pain, would i be able to qualify to get a card?

    I’d like to medicate legally and without having to take dangerous painkillers that would just shut me down anyway.

    • It might be if your doctor thinks you would benefit from it, if he/she does than all you need to get is the paper work then find a place to get your license, most places here in Seattle charge $150.00 for your license but if you shop around like I did I got mine for $100.00 Renton.

  14. does it work for insomnia? i have been sleeping so terribly lately

    • It does for me and I can’t take sleeping pills anymore because I started have bouts of sleepwalking and marijuana calms me down enough that I am able to get to sleep and most nights I stay a sleep all night

  15. My husband was just diagnosed with severe arthritis in his foot. Does anybody know if this would qualify for getting a card in Washington state?

    • Yes, you would. That is what I suffer from, used to take anti depressants and pain killers to dull the pain but they screwed my digestive system up so bad.

      I then looked into MMJ for relief from my headaches, and now, I NEVER have headaches, migraines, or the like anymore, ever. and I have been sleeping the best I have ever slept and have relief from my headaches, and muscle soreness from when I workout.

      I am highly active and the MMJ helps to soothe muscle pains after a good workout.

  16. “”””””” WASHINGTON RESIDENTS “””””””
    Need to find a place with an alternative medication? Come visit W.A.M.M at 3302 E SPRAGUE AVE.SPOKANE,WASHINGTON. the number is 509-533-1002 or 1-877-430-0420 M-F 9am-6pm and saturday 10am-4pm..

    • i just recently got my MMC @ WAMM
      it was easily done
      only problem is i live 2 hours away from Spokane
      and all the dispensaries have been closed down in Spokane
      and there are none closer to me then 3 hours away
      but i am going to start my garden tomorrow
      so …….. life aint terribly bad :)

  17. Would i qualify with insomnia and depression?

    i have both and i am sick of therapists trying to pump me full of anti depressants and sleep meds when cannabis works for both.

    • Hi Cody,

      Unfortunately in WA State there is no mental type illness that will qualify you. However, there are usually symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, bipolar, ADD/ADHD, PTSD, and insomnia. With a doctor’s help or other qualifying health care practitioner and/or examination of your health care history (if you have one) you might have qualifying conditions associated with these, and not even know they existed.

      That is why it is always important to be examined without trying to uncover whether or not you qualify on your own. It is important to go to a health care facility that will not charge you for an initial exam if you do not qualify.

      I hope this information is useful. Best of luck.

      Nora

  18. Does fibromyalgia count? I’m really tired of pounding pain meds that don’t do the job.

    • Yes, fibromyalgia may count as a qualifying condition if approved by a qualifying practitioner.

      It is really not based on WHAT you have, but the severity and your case in its entirety. This is why it is important to gather your health information, or have a health care clinic that specializes in this gather it for you, and then make an appointment.

  19. I’m 23 and recently got out of the army. I suffer from PTSD, mildTBI, and a few other things. I’ve heard of people in other states getting a card for PTSD, but how likely is that in this state? It does miracles for me and I would like to do it with out fear of the “law!”

      • You can refer to my comment above for more information. What I tell patients is that mental illness in WA State does not qualify you. However, most people who suffer from conditions such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc. usually suffer from underlying symptoms such as migraines, backaches, and other pain. It is very common to have a mental illness and have associated pain – the two usually run hand-in-hand. What is best is to gather your health information and visit a clinic that specializes in this for an examine and to uncover possible underlying symptoms you may be suffering from. If you are, in fact, suffering then you have nothing to fear but a solution to your problems. If you aren’t suffering then at least you will discover you don’t qualify. Either way, it costs you nothing if you go to the right facility. Our Health care center routinely deals with acquiring records from Army Madigan Hospital and the VA.

        Best of Luck,
        Nora

  20. I had knee surgery. They removed almost all of my maniskis and said I will have pain for the rest of my life. I will also have arthritus later on. Would like to know if I could qualify. I dont like to smoke it. Do they have other options?

    • I know quite a few people who don’t like to smoke marijuana as well, an easy and tasty alternative is edibles. They give a nice body high as well as relieving their pain.

    • Nick,

      There are TONS of ways you can get the benefits of medicinal THC from cannibus without having to smoke it. Edibles are definitely a good, convenient, and mostly “inexpensive” way to go. You can get food items themselves (cookies, bars, etc), tea bags, or items you can use to put on other food products you eat every day (like butter to spread on toast or oil to put on bread. Alot of times with the high concentration items like the oil, it’s easier to digest and get into your system when it’s taken with food anyways.

      You can always use a vaporizer as well. We are way past the days of patients being forced to roll joint after joint…not to mention there are negative effects on the lungs/throat when smoaked for a long period of time (I’m not an expert..btw). Vaporizing is quick and easy and you won’t even feel it as you get it in your system. Very “clean” way to go.

      Visit a store in your area and check out their inventory. Medical suppliers are amazing at assisting patients with whatever method fits their needs and lifestyle. I, for one, like the feeling of smoking it but I HATE the smell and the feeling after it gives me of making me crave a cigarette…I’ve been off cigarettes for 8 years now and I don’t need anything triggering my addiction, so alternatives help so much. My only advice would be to try different things and find what works in the situations you will be in, but just remember to ask questions and make sure what you find best helps your ailments.

      Best of luck and everyone stay safe out there.

      Much love,
      TP

      • Hi Nick,

        The others had a lot of good advice, especially Trevor. Smoking is actually the least effective way of smoking it, although many will try to convince you otherwise. Almost all health care practitioners will advise you NOT to smoke cannabis. Smoking can have long-term harmful effects on your lungs, not to mention the smell will bring unwanted social consequences that not everyone is prepared for. To remain private and relatively safe there are plenty of effective uses of cannabis. As some of the others mentioned, use is really the best test of what will work for you.

        Medical grade cannabis is unlike street-grade cannabis. It has different physiological effects, strengths, lengths of time it will work, and doses. Most important to remember is to use organic strains when vaporizing. Also, start by using small doses and work your way upward just like with medication that would be prescribed by your physician. Use only what is effective for your condition. Remember that edibles usual take longer to work – in some cases an hour, but last longer in the system (this may be ideal for certain types of chronic pain and sleeping). Vapors and tinctures work quickly, but do not last as long – so plan accordingly (possibly for quick acting, like migraines). Best of luck to you.

        Nora

    • blend high quality organic loose leaf with sweet leaf trimmimgs. Wonderful and helps with sleep at night with herbal blends.

  21. how do i get a med mj card? I have titanium implants between cervical 4 to 7. reg meds, vicodan, percoset, etc. does nothing when the nerves get impinged.

    • Shop around because most places in the Seattle area want 150 bucks for your license but I shopped around and got mine for 100 bucks over by the South Center Mall and someone was saying there is a doctor on the east side that for 200 bucks will give you a license with no paper, have not found out if that is true or not but hope its not because stupid stuff like that could ruin it for everyone

  22. Please feel free to visit our website and fill out our Intake form, it is free and we will let you know if you qualiy and set an appointment for you to be seen by one of our doctors in Seattle or Spokane.. It is a very easy process and we make sure out patients are taken care of.. http://www.greenwellness.org

  23. Patients in Tacoma! Green Health at 402 Tacoma Ave S. Suite 100, has tons of options starting at only $7/g and never more than $10/g, and we always weigh it out over! Call us at 253-223-3117.

  24. Ansering the question for Gary I have lower back pain and migrain headaches I got my card I dont smoke it I take drops and it works for me from what you shared with us I think you will get your card to good luck and I hope you take care and it will help your pain feel free to email me anytime nikki_brewer@hotmail.com Nicole

  25. Yes, the conditions you listed qualify. It helps both you and the doctor permitting you if you are able to provide your history of pain and what treatments you have tried. A copy of your pain doctors notes is sufficient.

  26. I WOULD LIKE FOR SOMEONE TO CONTACT ME TO SEE IF I QUILIFY FOR THIS MEDICATION 360-262-0900 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              360-262-0900      end_of_the_skype_highlighting THANKS GARY HAGER

  27. I HAVE A VERY BAD HEALTH HISTORY 1 I HAVE A EPILEPSY DISORDER #2 I TAKE OXYCODONE/APAP 5/325 ALSO OXYCONTIN 40MG FOR LOWER BACK AND LEFT HIP. THE MED HAVE NO EFFECT ANYMORE AND THE pain IS GETTING TO THE POINT I CAN’T WALK IN THE AM AT ALL. I NEED TO KNOW IF I COULD BE OR IF I AM A CANADATE FOR THIS MED? THANK YOU AND I LOOK TO HERE FROM YOUR REPLY. THANKS GARY HAGER 360-262-0900 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              360-262-0900      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

  28. We are the Washington State Cannabis Group. We are a clinic in Shoreline that helps patients that qualify under RCW 69.51A. Patients are able to call for information on appointments at 206-618-9091 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              206-618-9091      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

  29. Pingback: More Practitioners to Prescribe MMJ

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