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Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana in Washington DC

Created by the U.S. Constitution, the District of Columbia is a small area between Virginia and Maryland where the White House and the United States Congress operate. Home to some of the most famous monuments, statues, and buildings in American history, Washington D.C attracts visitors from all over the world.

Is marijuana legal in Washington D.C.?
Washington D.C. has legalized for limited medical use, decriminalized possession of certain amounts, and legalized the cultivation, possession, and use for adults 21 and older.
When did marijuana become legal in Washington D.C.?
The bill to legalize the medical use of marijuana in Washington D.C. was first proposed in 1998, but due to various political and financial reasons, it did not become law until 2010.

In 2014, voters in Washington D.C. passed Measure 71 with 70% of the vote. Measure 71 gave adults age 21 and older the ability to grow, possess, and use marijuana under certain conditions. It did not, however, provide any way to license recreational sales from dispensaries, growers, and product manufacturers or certify laboratories to test marijuana.
Where are the dispensaries in Washington D.C.?
As of March 2017, Washington D.C. has five dispensary locations and eight cultivation centers licensed. The district has set five as the limit, but the mayor may permit as many as eight as patient need or volume increases.
Are they MED or REC dispensaries?
Only medical dispensaries have been licensed to grow, manufacture, or sell marijuana products legally in Washington D.C.

Though adults 21 and over may legally possess marijuana, there is currently nowhere to purchase it legally. In January 2017, a bill was proposed which would allow for the District of Columbia to create a recreational marijuana licensing procedure. As of March 2017, it is being reviewed.
Who can be a medical patient in Washington D.C.? Who can purchase REC?
Recreational consumers of marijuana must be 21 or older. To be registered in the medical marijuana program in Washington D.C., a person needs to have a condition or illness which may receive benefit from the use of marijuana. This is determined by the recommending physician.
How do I become a medical patient in Washington D.C.?
A qualified health professional - defined as an M.D., D.O., advanced practice registered nurse, physician's assistant, dentist, or naturopathic physician in good standing - can recommend marijuana if they believe it may provide relief from a disease, condition, or symptom which limit a person from living fully. In order to recommend the medical use of marijuana, the physician must:
  • Develop a qualified physician-patient relationship
  • Perform an assessment of your medical history, including an in-person physical (must be done within 90 days of the recommendation)
  • Assume responsibility for ongoing care and treatment, assuming the relationship is not limited to the purpose of obtaining medical marijuana
  • Make a recommendation for medical marijuana based upon their assessment of medical history and the current state of your medical condition
  • Review other FDA-approved medications and treatments which may provide relief
If a patient is under 18, the parents or legal guardian of the minor must register as their caregiver and must agree, in writing, to the treatment on behalf of the minor.

After receiving a recommendation from a qualified medical provider, you can find the application packet online. In addition to the $100 application fee, proof of residency in the District of Columbia and a photocopy of a government-issued ID are required.
Where can I smoke?
Medical patients may not use marijuana in any form in a public space that is not a private residence. Public spaces may include:
  • Any street, alley, sidewalk, or parking area
  • In any vehicle in or on any street, alley, parking area, or park
  • Any place which the public is allowed unrestricted access
Additionally, marijuana cannot be consumed at the place it was purchased.

Recreational consumers are similarly unable to consume marijuana in public spaces.
How much does marijuana cost in Washington D.C.?
Washington D.C. dispensaries charge between $60-$80 per 1/8th depending on the strain. An ounce of flower can cost anywhere between $350-$400, while a ½ gram of concentrate averages between $50-$70, though kief runs between $30-$45 per gram. Edibles vary in price and potency greatly, so it is difficult to say an average price. You can generally get an edible for $20 or so.
How much marijuana can I buy and possess in Washington D.C.?
Medical patients may possess as much as two ounces at any time; however, dispensaries, through inventory tracking, are only permitted to sell up to two ounces to a patient in a 30-day period.

Recreational consumers, unable to purchase marijuana anywhere legally, are required to either grow at home or have marijuana gifted to them without any exchange of value having occurred. Adults 21 and older can also possess up to two ounces.
Can I grow marijuana? How many plants?
Adults age 21 and over may grow as many as many as six plants, with no more than three being mature (flowering) at any one time.
How do I get a job in the marijuana industry of Washington D.C.?
Anyone wishing to find a job in the D.C. cannabis industry must be 21 or older and not have a misdemeanor for drug-related crimes or a felony of any variety. You will be required to take a certification course, and proof of doing so is required during the application process.
Is Drug testing for marijuana legal in this Washington D.C.?
Employers are not required to permit marijuana possession or use on the job and may continue to enforce drug-free workplace policies as they wish, as long as the policy does not discriminate against those enrolled in the program just for being registered.
Is Delivery legal?
Recreational dispensaries do not currently reside in Washington D.C. and, for the time being, medical dispensaries in D.C. are not licensed to make deliveries directly to patients.
How to pay for marijuana in Washington D.C. dispensaries?
Marijuana is commonly purchased using cash, a result of the federal prohibition of marijuana on the banking industry. However, some of the dispensaries in Washington D.C. accept credit card.

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Washington DC Marijuana Laws

Washington currently has three laws affecting how a person may access cannabis and the resulting penalties if the use, possession, cultivation, or sales are done improperly.

Washington D.C. first attempted to create a law allowing the medical use of marijuana back in 1998, but congressional efforts undermined the process.

In 2010, over a decade later, the bill was reintroduced. Without congress blocking the measure, the Department of Health would begin to license patients, caregivers, physicians, growers, and dispensary locations, ultimately laying the groundwork for the industry as it exists today.

In July of 2014, lawmakers passed a piece of legislation removing many of the criminal penalties associated with being in possession of marijuana. Rather than sending people to jail, these laws would make possession under certain amounts a fine, similar to a parking ticket.

Measure 71 was passed (70% to 30%) by D.C. voters in November 2014. The law made it legal for adults age 21 and older to possess, grow, and use marijuana, yet it did not authorize retail dispensaries to be licensed or opened. While recreational consumers are able to use marijuana, currently they have no place to buy it.
Purchase and Possession Limits
Under both medical and recreational marijuana laws in Washington D.C., consumers may possess no more than two ounces of marijuana at any time. Medical dispensaries are required to track all sales to registered patients, ensuring they never exceed two ounces in a 30-day period. Medical patients may be authorized to possess more by the recommending physician.

Any person caught in possession of more than two ounces is subject to misdemeanor charges, including fines as much as $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
Driving while Intoxicated
Neither medical nor recreational marijuana laws in Washington D.C. allow a person to drive while under the influence. This extends to any motor vehicle, including a boat or aircraft.

Any person caught operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by marijuana can be fined up to $300 dollars for the first offense and spend as much as three months in jail.
Driving while in possession of marijuana
Marijuana may be transported by registered patients, caregivers, and adult consumers as long as the product is in the original packaging from the dispensary location. To be extra safe, recreational users have the products out of reach, such as in the trunk.
Additionally, marijuana cannot be consumed in a vehicle, in parking areas, on roads, in parks, or in alleyways. This is punishable by misdemeanor criminal charges and as much as 60 days imprisonment.
Marijuana Use by Minors
Minors may only use or possess marijuana or marijuana-infused products (such as edibles, tinctures, etc…) if they have been registered into the medical marijuana program by their parents or legal guardian. The parent or guardian must agree to become the caregiver and consent to cannabis treatment in writing.

Marijuana possession under one (1) ounce is penalized with a $25 civil fine for minors under 18.
Growing Marijuana at Home
Adults 21 and over may grow as many as six plants each, with no more than three plants being mature (flowering) at one time. There is a maximum of twelve plants per residence.

All marijuana grown at home is best left out of sight and any marijuana produced by the plants in excess of possession limit of two ounces is to be kept at home. Any person caught cultivation more than six plants are subject to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000.
Places to Consume Legally
Marijuana cannot be consumed in any of the following places or ways:
  • During any task where being under the influence of marijuana would constitute negligence.
  • In a vehicle on any road, alley, or parking area
  • On any street or alley
  • In any park
  • Any place reasonably assessed as public, where the public is generally invited
  • In a way which can cause harm to yourself or others, including property damage
  • In any place where minors under 18 who are not registered medical patients may be affected.
  • The District of Columbia has attempted to allow social clubs - where consumers could go to use marijuana recreationally, but not purchase the substance. As of March 2017, they remain banned.

    While possession has been decriminalized, public consumption - even for medical patients - remains prohibited. Misdemeanor criminal charges, fines up to $1,000, and as much as six months imprisonment.

    Washington DC Marijuana Prices and Economic Data

    With a population of over 650,000 residents, Washington D.C. has the potential to generate over $100 million in annual marijuana sales - if only the District could pass recreational laws without congressional approval. Washington D.C.'s marijuana laws are designed to allow adult recreational consumers and medical patients the ability to possess and use marijuana, but both systems are currently operating well below their potential.

    Adults may possess, use, and grow marijuana for personal use; however, the lack of anywhere to purchase the plant requires people to seek out illegal sources. The "Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2017", if it becomes law, will change this, allowing businesses to be licensed in the cultivation and sale of marijuana to adult consumers.
    Tax and Price Data
    Medical marijuana is charged the standard sales tax rate of 6%. As of March 2017, the average cost of medical marijuana at licensed dispensaries is as follows: Prices of Flower
    • 1 gram = $15-$25
    • 1/8th oz = $60-$80
    • 1/4th oz = $110-$150
    • 1 ounce = $350-$400
    Prices of Concentrates
    • 1 gram kief = $30-$45
    • ½ gram wax, shatter, rosin = $50-$70
    • 500 mg oil cartridge = $60-$80
    Edibles are infamously difficult to assign a price range. Typically, you can find a 30 mg edible for around $20.

    According to the March 1st, 2017 brief on the medical industry in D.C., nearly 5,000 patients - up by 1,500 since March 2016 - have registered in the program. Assuming each resident purchases 1.5 ounces of the two-ounce monthly limit at an average price of $350 an ounce, each patient will be purchasing around $525 dollars of marijuana per month. If patient volume and purchase level were constant, this could generate $31.5 million in sales annually and as much as $1.9 million in tax revenues.
    Outlook for Recreational Sales
    The Washington D.C. Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs
    and the Committee on Finance and Revenue Council held a public hearing in 2014 where they estimated the potential sales value of recreational marijuana in the District of Columbia.

    Given known usage of marijuana in the region, they estimated 122,000 people (roughly 20% of the population) would purchase an average of three ounces of marijuana per year - that is less than a ¼ gram per day. This estimate places recreational sales at around $130 million annually and would generate close to $8 million in sales taxes, not including any additional taxes created and levied on recreational sales.

    Marijuana Activities: Things to do in Washington DC

    A parcel of land not bound by statehood, Washington D.C. is a place where laws are simultaneously created and protested. As the capital city of the United States, D.C. has been the political home to America's elected officials since the late 1700s when the land was donated to become the District of Columbia. These days, tourists visit the D.C. area to explore history, see monuments, and appreciate the neoclassical architecture.

    While marijuana consumption is prohibited in public, Washington D.C. is still home to a variety of activities, events, and expos which are sure to be the high note of your day.
    The Greenlight Music & Cultural Festival
    The Greenlight Music and Cultural Festival is an all-day festival spanning fifteen acres in size. A narrative of advocacy joined by live music, new companies, and innovative products, there is no better way to experience all the Washington D.C. marijuana culture has to offer. Join the thousands of entrepreneurs in the D.C. area who seek to explore, reform, and grow the marijuana industry.
    Puff, Pass, and Paint
    Available in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, and Washington D.C., the highly popular Puff, Pass, and Paint class is a two-hour cannabis-infused paint session. This BYOC (bring your own cannabis) event allows the creative high to be explored in a fun and social way. Each class comes with paint and a canvas. The company also hosts a class which can teach you how to infuse topical products for skin care.
    Cannabis Cardio
    A mix of physical activity and casual consumption, Cannabis Cardio is a rare opportunity to blend marijuana and dance fitness in a fun (and social) way. Local vendors and small companies will be there to discuss products and - if you are lucky - provide samples. All events are 21 and up.

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