Captain Monica Alexander
Government and Media Relations
(360) 596-4010 – office
(360) 596-4015 – fax
*** For Immediate Release***
Troopers in District 8 Region Starting Active Enforcement of New Marijuana
Open Container in Vehicle Law
Bremerton -- WSP troopers assigned to District 8 Bremerton, which encompasses Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Grays Harbor, Pacific and Wahkiakum counties, are taking active enforcement on motorists who violate the recently active Marijuana in Vehicles law. The law, which went into effect September 26, 2015, makes it officially illegal to consume or carry open containers of marijuana or marijuana infused products in vehicles upon a highway. "Open" means the original package, container or receptacle that 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 reports contacting a motorist on a recent traffic stop who was carrying a quart size plastic zip-lock 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.
Sergeant Scott Gordon, based in Bremerton, advises "my troopers are seeing the violations and are currently taking an educational stance with violations" Sergeant Gordon cautions however that his troopers "make individual enforcement decisions" and actual tickets are possible at any point. Sergeant Gordon also points 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 dollar 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.