BREMERTON — Washington State Patrol troopers assigned to District 8 Bremerton, which encompasses Pacific, Wahkiakum, Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Grays Harbor counties, are taking active enforcement on motorists who violate the recently active Marijuana in Vehicles law, according to a press release.
The law, which went into effect Sept. 26, makes it illegal to consume, have or carry open containers of marijuana or marijuana infused products in vehicles upon a highway. “Open” means the original container has been opened and the seal broken or contents partially removed.
Local troopers advise that they are increasingly seeing the violation and taking enforcement action. One trooper reported contacting a motorist on a recent traffic stop who was carrying a quart-size plastic Zip-lock bag full of “pungent” marijuana buds in the console of his vehicle. The driver told the trooper he didn’t know it was illegal to do so.
Sgt. Scott Gordon, based in Bremerton, said in a press release this week that “my troopers are seeing the violations and are currently taking an educational stance with violations.” Gordon cautions, however, that his troopers “make individual enforcement decisions” and actual tickets are possible at any point. Gordon also pointed out that the new law is very similar to the Open Container Alcohol law: “You cannot have open containers or consume marijuana in any form in a vehicle upon a roadway.” It is a traffic infraction to violate the new law and carries a $136 fine.
Motorists can legally carry opened marijuana and infused products only in the trunk of the vehicle or in areas of the vehicle not normally occupied or directly accessible by driver or passengers. Utility or glove compartments are deemed as within the area occupied by the driver and passengers.
The new law has not been codified into RCW form but can be viewed for more information and definitions at the link Section 8 of 2E2SHB 1276 for Washington State House Bill 1276.