FAQ on legal pot: The 411 on 420

by: Graham Johnson Updated:


SEATTLE - In 2014 adults in Washington will be able to walk into a store and buy recreational marijuana.

How will the new system work and what can people expect?

Here are some FAQ's about cannabis - the 411 on 420.



You won't be able to buy it at Safeway. Marijuana will be sold in specialized stores. The state is licensing up to 334 stores across Washington, 21 of them in Seattle.

When we asked for pot questions on KIRO 7's Facebook page, Chris Brooks asked, "When will I be able to walk in a store and buy some weed?"

That will be as soon as the new licensed supply system is up and running, the state estimates by June 2014.

Unless banks start working with marijuana businesses, buyers will likely have to pay in cash.



"How do you price it and how do you tax it and what's the tax rate?" asked James Movius of Seattle.

The state will not set the price. It will be up to the market.

Regulators predict a pre-tax price of around $12 dollars per gram, but some experts think it will be much higher.

The campaign director for Initiative 502 says marijuana will likely be taxed between 30 and 40 percent, including retail sales tax.

That's a little more than hard alcohol and a little less than cigarettes.

The law says tax revenue will go to education, health care, research and substance abuse prevention.



State law allows people to carry around either one ounce of cannabis for personal use, 16 ounces in a product like a cookie, or 72 ounces in liquid form.

You don't have to be a Washington resident to legally buy pot, but it must be used in the state.



Marijuana remains illegal under federal law so it's a really bad idea to bring it onto any kind of federal property like a military base.

Crossing state lines with weed could also get you in trouble.

At the airport, the TSA says it's not searching for marijuana, but will refer cases to law enforcement if screeners find it.



"How they're going to handle things like people going ahead and smoking in public when they're not supposed to?" asked Betty Gard of Seattle.

Initiative 502 does not allow marijuana consumption in public view.

In Seattle, police say they'll soon start writing tickets.



On Facebook, Dea Swenson Moore asked, "Do the police treat people that use pot and drive as a DUI?"

According to the Liquor Control Board: "The initiative sets a per se DUI limit of "delta-9" THC levels at greater than or equal to 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood (5 ng/mL). State and local law enforcement agencies are tasked with enforcing the DUI limit."



"I think my biggest question is how are companies going to deal with employees who choose to use it now that it is legal," said Courtney Warren of Seattle.

I-502 does not address drug testing. That will be up to employers.



The new law makes it clear, legal marijuana is for people 21 and older.

Pot growers and sellers must be 1,000 feet from schools, playgrounds and day cares, the kind of places where kids gather.

Advertisements for pot must also be kept out of those zones.

Marijuana will be sold in child-proof packaging.