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Washington State Passes An Open Container Law For Marijuana

open container marijuana washington

(image via Forbes)

The State of Washington has the worst marijuana legalization law on the books. I think that is common knowledge by now. Washington is the only state in America that has voted to legalize marijuana, yet doesn’t allow home cultivation. Washington State recently passed a ‘marijuana open container law’ which makes transporting marijuana more difficult than it has been since marijuana legalization took effect. Per Newsweek:

A new state law, House Bill 1276, will update the state’s open container laws for vehicles to include marijuana. The law stipulates that marijuana, like alcohol, must be kept in the trunk of a vehicle, in an unopened container, or in another part of the passenger cabin “not normally occupied or directly accessible by” the driver or passengers.

The law, signed by Governor Jay Inslee on June 30, will take effect September 26.

The law also restores the state’s ability to automatically suspend a driver’s license if a blood test reveals the driver to be under the influence of marijuana, The Associated Press reports.

The first question that popped in my mind when I read about this was ‘was is considered to be an ‘unopened container”? Obviously if you visit a licensed store and make a purchase and the packaging is sealed, that is unopened. But when if it’s an edible in a ‘pop top’ style package where there is no ‘seal’ to break? What if you have left over marijuana and keep it in a jar or something? It’s legal to possess and legal to consume, but only able to transport under somewhat unclear conditions? I think the vagueness of the ‘unopened container’ language is going to lead to some headaches.


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Johnny Green


  1. Right. Actual impairment is far removed from the results of any tests so far devised (except for field sobriety tests). – That may be due to the fact science has shown marijuana consumption is NOT a significant cause of auto accidents. 8^)

  2. The real issue, like everyone here states, is that THC in your blood does not relate to being “stoned” and does not relate to impairment as a driver. Alcohol intoxication is pretty darn consistent and there can be objective blood levels that relate to impairment. Most of the studies I have seen, for example from the insurance industry and the government http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/25000/25800/25867/DOT-HS-808-078.pdf show only the most minimal impairment to driving, To the extent that cannabis replaces alcohol, it could have a positive net effect on traffic fatalities.

  3. “All blood tests will show current influence of marijuana.” Not true. Various forms of THC can show up in the blood test days after cannabis use, especially for people who have smoked for a long period of time. The problem with these laws is that there is no way for the user to know when he is out of compliance; there is no correlation between the test results and impairment.

  4. Pamela Wrenn Leonard on

    All you complaining about the open container law did you finish reading the story?? “The law also restores the state’s ability to automatically suspend a driver’s license if a blood test reveals the driver to be under the influence of marijuana, The Associated Press reports…ummm considering marijuana stays in your system from days to a month..pretty dang near anyone that smokes will lose their license if they are pulled over for anything…..

  5. This law, and any that attempt to punish adults for the possession of near harmless marijuana, will not hold up in the long run. – The court challenges will be many and endless.

  6. All blood tests will show current influence of marijuana. That’s the reason they do them instead of urine testing.

  7. Marijuana is not alcohol. The preponderance of the research shows marijuana consumption is NOT a significant cause of auto accidents.

    In February, the Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk report, produced by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, found that while drunken driving dramatically increased the risk of getting into an accident, there was no evidence that using marijuana heightened that risk. In fact, after adjusting for age, gender, race and alcohol use, the report found that stoned drivers were no more likely to crash than drivers who were not intoxicated at all.

  8. firetheliberals on

    so a frien gets in the car and does not tel the driver he has weed on him. cops pull you over and find his weed. then what.. this is a totally ridiculous law

  9. Good points. – Also, what about people who have cars with no trunks? Are they going to be persecuted now?

    It’s amazing that the state of Hempfest would have such insane laws.

  10. What kind of blood test would indicate that a driver is under the influence of marijuana? I hope it’s not the one that can detect THC weeks or months after use. It’s completely meaningless.

  11. We need a better way to tell if Cannabis is in your systerm and how much it takes to be impared.. marijuana has differant levels.. There are self driving cars and many aps to get you around if you feel impared but there is no rule of thumb like one beer an hour ..There Should Be An App For That!!!!

  12. Yep we have a zero tolerance state. I am not going to be surprised if the police start using mouth swabs when pulling people over. Zero tolerance refers to your level of impairment when involved in an accident. Even if the accident is not your fault but are under the influence when it happens – the accident becomes your fault.

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