Now is a great time to be a pothead in the very, very green Emerald City. But it's not all dank nugz and edible delights. There are a few things you should know before you get stoned, turnt, lit, zooted, booted, or whatever it is that the kids are calling it these days.
Things You Can Do
The basic rule is this: If you're 21 or older, with ID to prove it, you can buy up to an ounce of weed (or 16 ounces of edibles, 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquid products, or 7 grams of concentrates or extracts) at any state-licensed retail outlet and smoke, vape, or consume it in the privacy of your own home. You can also take it with you on the state ferry system. You can be high in public as long as you don't get high in public. Perhaps most importantly, you can buy motherfucking weed lube!
Things You Can't Do
Currently, you cannot pass your friend a joint without breaking the law. You cannot drive with weed once the package it came in has been opened, even if it's been resealed or is locked in the glove box. (Trunk only!) So you can't roll through the hood smokin' an L—especially because you can't drive with more than five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in your system, unless you want a DUI.
Although you probably wouldn't want to anyway, you cannot take dope to federal buildings. You cannot smoke pot in public places. You definitely cannot light up at the bar, no matter how drunk you are or how good of an idea it sounds like. You cannot have marijuana delivered to you (although this may change).
If you're thinking of flying somewhere (even if you're going from Seattle to Spokane), leave your pot at home. Border crossings aren't allowed. You definitely can't mail it. There are rules in the works to allow companies like FedEx and UPS to contract with pot businesses, but those rules don't include the public, so don't send your dear old auntie a bag of infused brownies.
As a renter, you aren't guaranteed smoking privileges. If your landlord or tenant association allows smoking in your unit, you're probably fine. But otherwise, you could be evicted. (If you live in federally subsidized housing, you definitely can't smoke.) Thanks to a dunderheaded bit of recent legislation, you cannot even toke up in Seattle-area hotels that allow smoking.
Currently, you can't buy pot from a medical marijuana dispensary unless you've got a doctor's authorization, and you also can't grow pot without authorization.
Many of these rules, however, are subject to change pending legislation. In the meantime, a good rule to follow is "Don't be a jackass." Smoking a joint in the alley behind the bar probably won't get you hauled off to jail, but doing so in front of a group of schoolchildren might.
Things You Should Do
Okay, now that you know where you can and can't get high, what should you do once you are high? Here are a few of my favorite activities:
Have a Canoe Picnic: The University of Washington's Waterfront Activities Center rents canoes and rowboats to the public. The first time I smoked pot with my mom was in one of those canoes, beneath the overpasses just south of Foster Island. (This is the same woman who had bought me a "promise stone" that I was to rub if I was ever tempted by the "green devil.") After blasting off, we rowed to the island, where we feasted on Triscuits, cheese, craft beer, and peanut-butter-filled pretzels. It was a blast.
Swim at the T-Dock: One of the best summertime activities is to visit the T-dock at night while stoned, ideally with a close friend or significant other. Then you should gaze out at the mess of lights reflecting off of Lake Washington, the majestic outcropping of trees that is Seward Park, and the amazing floating bridges that we all take for granted, and remember why you moved here: It's fucking gorgeous.
Play Video Games: I'm hesitant to even mention this, because I love that Georgetown Liquor Company is usually empty, but they have an amazing collection of vintage NES/SNES games. If you get stoned enough to think you have a snowball's chance in hell of beating Contra, this is the place to do it. (8-Bit Arcade Bar in Renton is another '80s gamers' paradise.)
If you desire a more modern experience, GameWorks offers $10 unlimited play after 5 p.m. on Thursday nights. They've got an entire floor of racing games, every iteration of The House of the Dead, skee-ball, and a 30-foot-long panel of shoot-out games. Unlike at Georgetown Liquor Company, the beer at GameWorks ain't cheap, so you'd be wise to spend your savings on some good weed instead.
Ride Your Bike to Bainbridge: Looking for a view? Try a bike adventure to Bainbridge Island. The ferry trip offers majestic views on all sides, and you can soak up more natural beauty at Fay Bainbridge Park, which is a reasonable ride from the ferry dock. But the best part of the trip is the poutine at Harbour Public House. With a rotating selection of awesome craft beer, and three different preparations of poutine, it's basically a stoned bicyclist's godsend.
Go See Some Art: On the first Thursday of every month, art venues of all kinds fling open their doors to the public, offering intriguing exhibitions, free admission, and boatloads of cheap-ass wine. Yes, please!
Visit the Zoo or Aquarium: The Woodland Park Zoo has lemurs. The Seattle Aquarium has sea otters. Need I say more?
And, Finally, a Word of Advice from City Attorney Pete Holmes
Did you know that City Attorney Pete Holmes was one of the first legal pot customers in Washington State? He bought two bags—one for posterity and one for himself. A self-described "wonky lawyer," he's also a major champion of legalization and is pushing several bills through our state legislature to sensibly reduce the length of that long list of "can't dos."
His words of advice to newcomers? "It's kind of like on Louis C.K., when people are complaining about their airline seats—you know, that they don't have enough legroom—and they forget the fact that they're in an airplane flying at 30,000 feet at 700 miles per hour. Where's the wonderment in that? I like the Louis C.K. response: 'Remember, this is an amazing privilege that is enjoyed by a very small percentage of the country. Don't screw it up for the rest of us.'"