Your Guide to Washington State Drug Laws

Every state in the country has different drug laws, some in line with federal regulations, and some are slightly different. The number of legal drugs in each state does not dictate how strict its overall drug laws are. Even though marijuana is legal for recreational use in Washington state, there are still several strict drug laws covering different aspects of drug use. However, some considerations assist people suffering from addiction that can help make their recovery easier to navigate.

Many people are under the mistaken impression that just because Washington State has legalized the recreational use of marijuana, this means that laws are more relaxed than in other states. This is not the case. It IS possible to get into a lot of trouble because of drugs – even marijuana.

Drug Schedules in Washington State

According to the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, the Washington State Legislature defines a “controlled substance” as any “drug, substance, or immediate precursor included in Schedules I through V as set forth in federal or state law

And here’s the important part – this Scheduling ALSO includes isomers – any substances with the same molecular formula, even if it has a different chemical structure. This means that Washington State also bans so-called “designer drugs” with chemical formulas that have been slightly altered in an attempt to circumvent laws.

What controlled substances can this include?

Schedule I

These substances have no legal, medical use in the country and tend to be abused. Some drugs in this schedule include:

  • Ecstasy
  • Heroin
  • LSD

Schedule II

These substances have restricted medical use but are likely to be abused. Some drugs in this schedule include:

  • Amphetamine
  • Barbiturates
  • Codeine

Schedule III

Substances in this schedule have restricted medical use and a lower tendency to be abused but may still cause dependence. Drugs in this schedule include:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Anabolic Steroids
  • Ketamine

Schedule IV

Drugs in this schedule have restricted medical use, a lower tendency of abuse, and a lower likelihood of dependence. Some drugs in this schedule include:

  • Xanax
  • Clamazepam/Paxor
  • Valium
  • Restoril

Schedule IV

Substances in this class have a medical use, a lower tendency of abuse, and a lower likelihood of dependence especially compared to other schedules. Some cough suppressants with minimal amounts of codeine may fall into this schedule.

Possessing drugs in these schedules illegally can bring severe penalties. Violations regarding drugs in these schedules are known as Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act (VUCSA), commonly known as drug charges. VUCSA charges can also involve drug materials, known as paraphernalia

What is Drug Paraphernalia?

Paraphernalia usually refers to the equipment needed for a particular activity. Drug paraphernalia can vary considerably since different drugs are taken through the skin, the nose, or the mouth.

In Washington, marijuana paraphernalia may not be subject to penalties other drug equipment may incur. Typical drug paraphernalia that may draw a misdemeanor includes:

  • Kits for processing or manufacturing controlled substances
  • Equipment used to test strength or purity
  • Scales or balances
  • Chemicals used to cut or dilute controlled substances
  • Mixing devices – spoons, containers, bowls, blenders
  • Packaging equipment – envelopes, balloons, capsules, baggies
  • Hypodermic needles or syringes
  • Cocaine spoons or vials
  • Pipes

Paraphernalia charges in Washington state may incur penalties of up to 90 days in jail and $1,000. Officials may use a person's drug charge history to determine if everyday items, like bowls or spoons, can be used to incur a new drug charge.

Driving under the Influence in Washington State

Driving under the influence (DUI) puts many people at risk of harm and even death. Penalties for a DUI in Washington state are severe. Even before being fully convicted, a person charged with a DUI can have their license suspended.

Amytal Addiction Information

It is important to note that a DUI does not just pertain to alcohol but any substance that causes impairment to the driver. Other DUI penalties in Washington include:

  • Suspension of driving privileges
  • Jail or prison time
  • Average $3,700 fine
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Ignition interlock requirements

The severity and duration of these penalties depend on the DUI history of the person being charged. A single DUI charge in Washington state can easily cost more than $11,00 in fines and fees alone.

Amytal Addiction Treatment

Substance Abuse Help at Northpoint Washington

Beyond paraphernalia and DUI charges, there are dozens of drug charges that you can be convicted of in Washington state. IF you struggle with substance abuse, you may be at risk of committing one of these crimes and later paying the price.

Breaking the cycle of addiction can be intimidating and complicated; there is no shame in asking for help. Get started on the road to recovery today by contacting us at 425.437.3298.

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