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The Dumbest Laws in the United States: Pacific Northwest Edition

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I was wrong a couple weeks ago when I said that California laws are crazy. Many of the Golden State’s laws that I mentioned now seem completely sane in comparison to those I’ve discovered in Washington and Oregon.

For example, if you are trying to woo the opposite sex by saying your dad just won the lottery and drives a brand-new Lamborghini when in fact he doesn’t have a dime to his name, you better think again. In Washington state it is illegal to pretend that your parents are rich.

Also, Evergreen State residents better not plan to go mattress  shopping on a Sunday, as purchasing either item on that day is illegal. If lollipops are your candy of choice, you may want to steer clear of Washington–marijuana may be legal, but lollipops are not. Okay, okay: although this law exists, it is not enforced. You can certainly buy lollipops at many shops.

And Washingtonians are much less concerned about Ebola than something much worse: the common cold. If you have the virus, sorry; you are banned from walking around in public.

If you are lucky enough to spot Bigfoot or any other mysterious creature, feel free to take a picture, but not if it in any way insults the being. Harassing Bigfoot, Sasquatch, or any other “undiscovered subspecies” is a felony punishable by law. That begs the question, if Bigfoot is ever considered “discovered,” will it become okay to harass him? Or, can we never have the pleasure of making fun of his big feet?

For some reason, lawmakers in Washington felt the need to create a law specifically banning painting polka dots on American flags. I wonder if painting little smiley faces would be acceptable?

Alright, I’ve had my kicks poking fun at Washington. Now it’s Oregon’s turn.

The first law that I will mention really makes me wonder why there was a need to create it. In Oregon, it is illegal to place a container filled with human fecal matter on the side of a highway. What about on residential roads? Is it okay there?

Drivers are under many restrictions in Oregon as well. They are prohibited from pumping their own gas, cannot leave a car door open “longer than is necessary”–who is the judge of that??–and are banned from testing their physical endurance while driving. Drivers must also be sure to yield to pedestrians who are standing on the sidewalk. I don’t even understand what that means.

Hopefully you weren’t planning to use canned corn as bait on your next fishing trip in Oregon, as doing so is against the law. It’s okay to use other canned vegetables, however.

Thus concludes this week’s installment of the Dumbest Laws in America. Up next, I will explore Montana and Idaho, so don’t miss it!

Marisa Mostek
Marisa Mostek loves globetrotting and writing, so she is living the dream by writing while living abroad in Japan and working as an English teacher. Marisa received her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder and a certificate in journalism from UCLA. Contact Marisa at



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