We are now in what can be considered the “aftermath” of Washington's marijuana legalization. While things have run relatively smoothly so far, law enforcement is beginning to catch up to the increased use. Specifically, the Washington State Patrol is now cracking down on open containers of marijuana in the car, an infraction which state troopers claim to be seeing more and more often.
As of September 26, 2015, it is now illegal to drive with an open container of marijuana in your car. Just as with alcohol, it must be fully sealed in the original packaging, or else must be stored in the trunk or otherwise out of reach. If you're caught in violation of this law, you can be charged with an infraction and will have to pay a $136 fine.
What is Considered an Open Container?
When it comes to alcohol, it's pretty clear what is, and what is not a sealed container. Marijuana, on the other hand, comes in a variety of packaging that is minimally regulated. While marijuana, concentrates, and edibles must all be sold in child resistant packaging, these containers are typically resealable and do not indicate if the container has already been opened. Furthermore, there is no state standard that actually dictates what a seal is – one officer may consider a paper bag stapled shut as a seal, but another may not.
For this reason, you're better off putting marijuana in your trunk or another place out of reach of you and your passengers. This legal gray area will likely be cleared up soon, probably with more specific packaging requirements for marijuana retailers and processors to follow.
Charged With a Marijuana DUI? Call (888) 252-1961.
While this open container law is just an infraction for now, it is representative of an increased effort by law enforcement to crack down on illegal use. Marijuana is legal now in Washington, but driving under the influence of weed is not. If you've been arrested for any DUI, including DUI with drugs, call the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC immediately for aggressive defense. Our Snohomish County DUI attorney has nearly 15 years of experience with DUI defense, and is a founding member of the DUI Defense Lawyers Association.
Call (888) 252-1961 today for the high quality defense you need against DUI charges.