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More answers to questions about new marijuana laws

After we published answers in the print and online versions of The Spokesman-Review to questions about the new marijuana laws, a not too surprising thing happened.

People asked us more questions. 

Spin Control does not give out legal advice, and isn't in the position of knowing everything possible about the new post I-502 marijuana laws. But we can answer a few of the questions, or find someone who can. If more come in, we'll take another run at it, too.

Here goes:

If I'm at a bar that has an outside area where patrons can drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes, would it be legal to smoke marijuana there?

For the answer to this and other questions, click here to go inside the blog. 

No, says Alison Holcomb, a lawyer who helped spearhead the I-502 campaign. A bar is a public place, just like a restaurant or a store. The law allows for marijuana to be smoked or otherwise consumed in private. The fact that they allow tobacco to be smoked there isn't a green light to light up.

Can I mail an ounce or less of marijuana to someone if they are in Washington and I am in Washington?

No. This, by the way, is a really bad idea, Holcomb says, because by using the U.S. mail, you are breaking federal law, which still lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, illegal for all uses. So you could be subject to federal prosecution.

Is it legal to transport marijuana in Washington?

You can possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use, and you could have it on your person if you are going from one place to another. More than that, whether you are sitting in your living room, walking down the street or driving across the state, and you are breaking the law. Even if you are within the one-ounce limit, it would be a really bad idea to wave it around  in public, start exclaiming what great stuff you have, or start offering people free samples. A little common sense will go a long way.

Can I open up a dispensary now? 

Dispensaries are for medical marijuana, which are governed by separate statute. Given that the feds have cracked down on marijuana dispensaries over the last year or so, that might not be the best business move...but just as Spin Control does not give out legal advice, it does not give out business advice, either.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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