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Carney & Marchi, P.S. Oct. 31, 2023

Marijuana Trafficking Charges in Washington 

Although many states, including Washington, have legalized recreational marijuana, criminal laws regarding the unlawful use, possession, sale, and trafficking of marijuana are still quite harsh. Washington law recognizes several marijuana-related crimes with marijuana trafficking being the most severe one. A person convicted of marijuana trafficking in Washington can face serious penalties, including time behind bars.  

If you are facing marijuana trafficking charges in Washington, don’t face them alone. The attorneys at Carney & Marchi, P.S., understand that this is a frightening time in your life. The criminal defense attorneys have more than 50 years of combined legal experience in defending clients against all types of drug-related charges, including marijuana trafficking, in Seattle and throughout Washington State.  

Marijuana Laws in Washington  

In 2012, Washington became the first state in the nation to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Even though the use, purchase, and sale of cannabis are legal in the state, there are still many restrictions under the law.   

  • Age limit. People under the age of 21 cannot use, purchase, or possess cannabis lawfully.  

  • Purchase limits. The limits for purchasing cannabis in Washington depend on the form in which cannabis is sold. Adults are limited to purchasing up to 1 ounce of useable cannabis, 72 ounces of liquid cannabis, 7 grams of concentrates, and 16 ounces of cannabis-infused edibles.  

  • Purchase and sale. Cannabis cannot be lawfully sold and purchased anywhere other than at state-licensed retail stores. Every adult who wants to make a purchase must show a valid ID.  

  • Public use. Even if cannabis is purchased lawfully by an adult, it is prohibited to consume cannabis in public.  

  • Driving. Washington law also makes it illegal to operate motor vehicles under the influence of cannabis. Drivers with 5 ng/ml of THC or more in their blood can face serious penalties.  

In addition to these restrictions, Washington State also makes possession of certain amounts of marijuana a crime. If a person is caught with between 1 ounce (28 grams) and 1.4 ounces (40 grams) of marijuana in their possession, they can face misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 90 days behind bars. Having more than 1.4 ounces of marijuana is a felony that has a penalty of up to five years in prison.  

Marijuana Trafficking Charges in Washington  

Under Washington law, it is illegal to manufacture, deliver, or possess with the intent to manufacture/deliver any controlled substance, including marijuana. Prosecutors in Washington State must prove two elements to convict a defendant of marijuana trafficking:  

  1. The defendant knowingly and unlawfully possessed marijuana; and 

  1. The defendant intended to distribute, sell, transport, or manufacture the drug.  

When a person is suspected of distributing, transporting, selling, manufacturing, or delivering marijuana, they can face marijuana trafficking charges. However, the defendant’s guilt must be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction.  

When Marijuana Trafficking May Become a Federal Crime 

Marijuana trafficking is among the crimes that can be charged both at a state and federal level. The offense is more likely to be prosecuted in the federal court if the following is true: 

  • The offense occurred on federal property; 

  • The offense involved large quantities of marijuana;  

  • The defendant crossed state lines when committing marijuana trafficking; or 

  • The defendant was investigated by a federal agency.  

Drug trafficking cases are prosecuted and punished more harshly at the federal level, which is why you should consider hiring an attorney as soon as possible if your case falls under the jurisdiction of federal court.   

Possible Penalties if Convicted  

Generally, the severity of the punishment depends on the amount of the drug involved and the defendant’s criminal history, among other factors. The consequences of a marijuana trafficking conviction can be broken down into two broad categories: 

  1. Criminal penalties: incarceration, probation, fines, drug counseling, and others;  

  1. Collateral consequences: difficulty obtaining employment or finding housing, ineligibly to obtain professional licenses, inability to obtain financial aid, negative impact on the immigration status, the loss of the right to possess a firearm, and others.  

The attorneys at Carney & Marchi, P.S., understand the seriousness of marijuana trafficking charges in Washington and have the necessary resources to help you avoid a conviction—or, at the very least, mitigate the criminal penalties and collateral consequences.  

Defenses to Trafficking Charges  

Whether you are facing marijuana trafficking charges at the state or federal level, there are always ways to fight for your freedom. There may be several defenses available to you depending on the facts of your case. The attorneys at Carney & Marchi, P.S., can thoroughly investigate your specific situation to help you formulate the strongest defense possible.  

A conviction for marijuana trafficking in Washington can impact you for the rest of your life. Your personal relationships and your professional prospects could be severely damaged in the blink of an eye. With the stakes so high, it’s important to reach out to an attorney to help you start building a defense right away.  

The knowledgeable and dedicated attorneys at Carney & Marchi, P.S., have more than five decades of combined legal experience in the courtroom, enabling them to expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and help clients fight for the best possible resolution.  

Defense Representation You Can Trust 

If you have been arrested and charged with marijuana trafficking anywhere in Washington County, contact Carney & Marchi, P.S. Allow a team of compassionate professionals to explore all the details of your case to develop a powerful defense on your behalf.


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