Initiative 502 took effect on December 6, 2012, decriminalizing the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use. The law had other resounding impacts on areas like DUI charges related to marijuana use.
The Initiative's intent was described in this way:
The people intend to stop treating adult marijuana use as a crime and try a new approach that: 1) Allows law enforcement resources to be focused on violent and property crimes; 2) Generates new state and local tax revenue to be focused on violent and property crimes; 3)Takes marijuana out of the hands of illegal drug organizations and brings it under a tightly regulated, state-licensed system similar to that for controlling hard alcohol.
This measure authorizes the state liquor control board to regulate and tax marijuana for persons twenty-one years of age and older, and add a new threshold for driving under the influence of marijuana.
The growth and processing for retail sale breaks down to three specific parties:
A Marijuana Producer is a person licensed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) to produce and sell marijuana at wholesale to processors and other producers. This includes a 'grower' of marijuana.
A Marijuana Processor is a person licensed by the WSLCB to process marijuana into useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products, including packaging and labeling for sale in retail outlets. Processors are also permitted to sell useable marijuana and marijuana products at wholesale to marijuana retailers.
A Marijuana Retailer is a person licensed by the WSLCB to sell useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products in a retail outlet.