Frequently Asked Questions

City rules prohibit recreational marijuana use in public. "In public" means in view of the general public. See SMC 12A.20.100. Additional state and federal regulations are highlighted below.

Private vs. Public

Washington state law protects private marijuana use, so you can consume openly in a residence as long as the property owner allows it. Marijuana cannot be consumed in public view, such as on streets or sidewalks or in public parks. In addition, the state's Smoking in Public Places law (RCW 70.160) prohibits smoking of any kind in public places and places of employment.

Hotels

As with tobacco, smoking marijuana in any indoor location is subject to the restrictions in the Washington state Smoking in Public Places law. The law prohibits smoking in a public place or place of employment and within 25 feet of entrances, exits, windows that open and ventilation intakes that serve an enclosed area. If the establishment permits it and you are either vaporizing or staying in a room in which smoking is allowed, you can legally consume marijuana in a private hotel room.

Boating, Hiking and Skiing

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, if you are in navigable waters, they will enforce federal law. Possession of marijuana is still a federal crime. This is also true at national parks. And it is never okay to operate a boat while impaired by marijuana or any other drug. The law against marijuana use in public view applies to state parks, public hiking trails and ski resorts.

Legal business types in the marijuana industry are licensed producers (growers), processors and retailers. This is regulated by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB). These businesses must also comply with all City zoning, permitting and licensing requirements, including reporting and paying City taxes.

In addition to a WSLCB license, marijuana businesses located in Seattle and those that come into Seattle to engage in marijuana business activities must obtain a Seattle Marijuana Business License and a Seattle Business License Tax Certificate. See the Business Regulations website for more information.

 If you have questions about a marijuana business related to zoning or permitting, contact the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) at 206-684-8850 or visit www.seattle.gov/dpd/aboutus/whoweare/applicantservicescenter.

Additional resources:

Marijuana retailers, processors and producers located in Seattle and those that come into Seattle to engage in marijuana business activities must obtain a Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) license as well as a Seattle Marijuana Business License and a Seattle Business License Tax Certificate. Contact the WSLCB at 360-664-1600 or visit lcb.wa.gov for information about state licenses. Visit the Business Regulations website for more on Seattle's license requirements.

The City plays a role in the license review process – see more on the City Attorney's Office website. Additionally, the WSLCB also makes available online 45 days' worth of local authority applications for marijuana and liquor establishments

In addition to state and City license requirements, if you produce or process marijuana, you must have an air quality permit from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. Contact the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency at 206-343-8800 or visit www.pscleanair.org/business/marijuana/.

If you'd like to know if a business has a City business license, you can search the business license database.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) enforces regulations about where marijuana businesses are permitted. For more information about state regulations, contact the WSLCB at 360-664-1600 or visit lcb.wa.gov.

In Seattle, marijuana businesses are subject to the same zoning and permitting rules as any other business, with the addition of buffering from the following sensitive entities: elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, library or game arcade that allows minors to enter. If you have questions about a marijuana business related to buffering, zoning or permitting, contact the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections at 206-684-8850 or visit www.seattle.gov/dpd/aboutus/whoweare/applicantservicescenter. You may also find helpful information in SDCI's Tip #134 - Businesses Involving the Growing, Processing, Selling or Delivery of Marijuana.

Marijuana retailers, processors and producers located in Seattle and those that come into Seattle to engage in marijuana business activities must obtain a Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) license as well as a Seattle Marijuana Business License and a Seattle Business License Tax Certificate. Visit the Business Regulations website for more on Seattle's license requirements.

Where you will go for more information will depend on the type of issue or questions you have. See our Who Can Help page for a contact list broken out by issue type.