Washington D.C. legalized medical cannabis in 2010, through the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act of 2010, which provided a legal way for qualifying patients in the state to obtain, use and possess medical cannabis with a physician’s written certification for the treatment of a state qualifying condition. Access to medical cannabis is through state licensed businesses that are allowed to grow, manufacture, process, transport and sell medical cannabis.
Recreational use was voted to be approved in 2014 on a ballot known as I-71. Consistently, Congress has obstructed the city’s efforts to establish regulations and impose taxes on commercial cannabis sales, even though the possession of small quantities of cannabis remains lawful.
On January 31, 2023, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed legislation, B24-0013: The Medical Cannabis Amendment Act, expanding the medical cannabis program in D.C. allowing for more access to medical cannabis. After undergoing an obligatory Congressional review process, the measure became law on March 22, 2023. This new legislation brings about comprehensive changes to the medical cannabis program in Washington, D.C. This program caters to a considerable number of individuals, including approximately 29,000 distinct D.C. resident patients as well as numerous patients from outside the District of Columbia.
Among other things it removes certain prohibitions against returning citizens ability to take part in the medical marijuana industry. The legislation also creates licenses for new types of cannabis businesses, including marijuana delivery services, online sales, educational programs such as cooking classes, and cannabis consumption areas at dispensaries. Half of the new licenses will be reserved for social equity applicants, which are defined as D.C. residents who have a low income, have spent time in prison, or are related to someone who was incarcerated for a cannabis or drug-related offense. There has been no cap set on the expansion of the program yet. Straw ownership for the purposes of meeting the ownership requirements of social equity applicants and medical cannabis certified business enterprises is prohibited for both district residents and out-of-state residents.
- A person who has been issued a Medical Marijuana Card by the District Department of Health may continue to possess up to two ounces of medical marijuana per month. However, the use of medical marijuana in public remains a criminal offense and can result in arrest.
- It is legal to possess two ounces or less of marijuana.
- Individuals are allowed to grow a maximum of six marijuana plants in their own homes, with the condition that only three of these plants are in their mature state.
- D.C. residents cannot use marijuana on federal government-owned properties like national parks, military buildings, and government buildings.
- Breaking marijuana laws in Washington D.C. can lead to various consequences, such as imprisonment, monetary penalties, the suspension of one’s driver’s license, and in certain cases, the confiscation of assets.
- You may not consume cannabis in any D.C. dispensaries.
- Washington D.C’s regulations surrounding marijuana prohibit the direct purchase of cannabis through conventional buyer-seller transactions. Instead, they enable individuals to acquire a different product, commodity, or service, and as part of this exchange, they receive a complimentary marijuana item that is presented as a “gift” or donation from the vendor, rather than being sold outright.
- There are no official recreational dispensaries in Washington D.C.