By Steve Elliott
You can't legally drive around in Washington state with an "open container" of marijuana. The state, thanks to a law passed by the Legislature last summer, now bans open cannabis containers in vehicles.
The law, which went into effect September 26, means that using marijuana in vehicles, or driving with open containers of cannabis or infused products, is illegal, repots Brooks Johnson at The Longview Daily News.
Washington State Patrol troopers said they are trying to get the word out, since they've encountered many motorists who had no idea that what they've been doing for years is suddenly against the law.
"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," according to a WSP press release. "The driver told the trooper he didn't know it was illegal to do so."
Marijuana and infused products, sealed in the original packaging, can be kept anywhere. But opened packages (jars or bags) must be kept in the trunk, or in a locked box out of reach of driver and passengers.
Packages shouldn't be stored in the glove compartment, according to the law, though it's OK to stash the weed behind the last row of seats.
Breaking the open container law is considered a traffic infraction, and comes with a $136 fine.