As a cannabis user, moving to a new state is always hard. This is especially true if you don’t know the laws there. It’s even harder in DC due to the strict cannabis laws surrounding both medical and recreational marijuana.
On the bright side, weed is now legal in DC. However, there’s a catch. initiative 71 brought about the explosion of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. But it doesn’t allow the sale of recreational marijuana.
So, how do recreational cannabis users in DC get their stash? Read on to find out.
Can You Buy Weed in DC?
The simple answer here is yes, you can. But, as previously mentioned, there’s a catch. Medical marijuana patients can purchase marijuana at any cannabis dispensary as long as they have a medical marijuana card. Recreational cannabis users, on the other hand, can’t buy cannabis in DC.
That said, the state allows you to grow your own weed. You can grow up to six cannabis plants, but you can only keep three mature plants at a time. You can also pose up to two ounces legally as long as you are over 21. The state also allows recreational cannabis users to transfer one ounce as long as there is no cash exchange.
This basically means that you can’t buy recreational marijuana in DC, but you can receive it as a gift, as long as it’s not above an ounce.
So, is Marijuana Really Legal in DC?
Technically, yes. You won’t get into trouble for using either medical or recreational marijuana in DC. But the commercial sale of recreational cannabis plants is still illegal. You should also note that medical marijuana in DC was legalized way back in 1998, following the implementation of initiative 59. Recreational cannabis use was, however, legalized recently in 2015, following the implementation of initiative 71.
How to Get Recreational Marijuana in DC
There are plenty of ingenious recreational marijuana dispensaries in DC. Here’s how recreational marijuana dispensaries bypass marijuana laws in DC.
As you can probably conclude, there are some restrictions around the use and sale of marijuana in DC. The sale of recreational marijuana is illegal in DC, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer it as a gift. So, to circumvent these restrictions, recreational marijuana dispensaries sell common items like art, souvenirs, and even pencils, then offer weed as a gift. This is the closest thing we have to a recreational marijuana dispensary in DC.
The same principle applies to marijuana delivery services. There are several marijuana delivery services in DC that allow you to purchase accessories like ashtrays, rolling papers, and T-shirts, then choose any strain of your liking as a gift.
How to Get Medical Marijuana in DC
Before we get to how you can get medical marijuana in DC, you first have to understand the medical marijuana laws in DC. As previously mentioned, medical marijuana in DC was legalized in 1998, following the implementation of initiative 59.
In 2010, legislators in DC passed the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act. This amendment clarified the provisions of the previous 1998 legislation, notably the establishment of regulations for dispensaries. Under this new amendment, possession limits for medical marijuana patients were set at two ounces.
The first medical marijuana dispensary did not open until 2013. These days, you need a medical marijuana card to purchase medical marijuana legally in DC. The law was further amended in 2014 to allow medical marijuana cards to include all medical conditions that a physician may feel a patient may benefit from the use of medical marijuana.
Fast forward to 2015, the recreational marijuana legislation allowed medical marijuana patients to cultivate up to six cannabis plants, three of which may be mature. Possession limits were also raised to four ounces in 2016.
The 2015 amendment also allowed medical marijuana patients from other jurisdictions with similar medical marijuana programs to DC to use their medical marijuana cards in DC.
How Does One Qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in DC?
To get a medical marijuana card, you have to consult with a physician, nurse, or other licensed medical practitioners. Once you consult with a licensed medical practitioner, they will give you a recommendation number. With that in hand, you can then submit your application to the Department of Health.
The application typically consists of a photo ID, headshot, and two forms of proof that you are a DC resident. You’ll also have to part with a $100 application fee. This fee can, however, be lowered to $25 for low-income patients.
You should also note that medical marijuana cards in DC are only valid for one year. After it expires, you’ll need to seek a renewal.
Public Marijuana Consumption Laws in DC
It is illegal to consume cannabis in public in Washington DC. Getting caught may result in a misdemeanor conviction of up to 60 days in jail or a fine not exceeding $500. That said, since some portions of DC are technically federal land, penalties may vary.
Can Using Marijuana When Driving in DC Result in a DUI?
By driving in DC, you are legally obligated to consent to a chemical test. If you refuse to submit to a test, your license might get revoked for up to 12 months. Your refusal to submit to a test can also be admissible as evidence in a court of law.
Penalties typically depend on the number of offenses. A first offense could result in 180 days of incarceration and a $1,000 fine, while a fourth offense could result in a 45-day minimum incarceration period and a $2,500 to $10,000 fine.
The Bottom Line
DC has some of the most complicated marijuana laws in the country. Luckily, medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries have found a way to circumvent these laws. So you won’t fail to find a supplier, as long as you know where to look. That said, you should also take note of the marijuana possession laws in DC, so you don’t get into trouble.