Are you visiting Washington DC soon, or are you a DC local who hasn’t yet tried cannabis? If you’re unsure of the ins and outs of weed in DC, we’ve got your back. From local laws to registering for a medical marijuana card and even a guide on how to self-certify, we break down everything there is to know about buying cannabis at the Capitol. 

Is Cannabis Legal in Washington, DC?

Washington DC’s cannabis laws are unique in that it’s legal for adults 21+ to possess, grow, or gift cannabis, but it’s not available for retail sale at this time. However, medical cannabis is legal for both residents and non-residents, and there are licensed dispensaries like Takoma Wellness Center available for patients to purchase cannabis products.

Recreational Cannabis

Though federal restrictions prevent DC from taxing and regulating cannabis sales—and therefore making adult-use sales of the plant illegal—that hasn’t stopped unregulated storefronts from popping up throughout the area where you can purchase a small non-cannabis item from the shop and then be “gifted” cannabis with your purchase. 

However, since the businesses are unregulated, it also makes the products they sell unregulated, too. So, if you’re looking for quality lab-tested and regulated cannabis, you’ll want to stick with licensed medical dispensaries.

Medical Marijuana Program

Medical marijuana has been legal in DC since 2010, though the first time voters approved it was back in 1998, and licensed dispensaries have been in operation since 2013. Over the years, the program has changed to expand access to both residents and non-residents via the acceptance of out-of-state medical marijuana cards from certain states and allowing non-residents to apply for temporary patient registration (self-certify) while in the District. 

Who Can Buy Weed in DC?

Buying legal weed in DC is restricted to those with a valid medical marijuana card, but that’s not a difficult accomplishment by design. To avoid the growing trend of “purchase with a gift of cannabis”-style businesses, the district allows many to self-certify and get access to a temporary or annual medical card.

Residential Medical Cannabis Patients

Unlike many states with medical marijuana programs, there is no set list of qualifying conditions that are required for you to purchase cannabis products—you can qualify so long as there is any legitimate medical need. 

You may qualify to self-certify for medical marijuana, but if you don’t, you can still get a card with a recommendation from a certified healthcare professional. You must pay a registration fee annually to maintain your card with or without a doctor’s recommendation.

Non-Residential Medical Cardholders

If you are visiting the DC area and have a medical marijuana card from a program in another state, you may be able to use your card in DC dispensaries. The list of reciprocating states continues to grow, and you can find the most up-to-date list of out-of-state medical cards through DC’s Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration.

Non-Residents Who Self-Certify in DC

Keeping up with doctors’ appointments can be expensive, especially when insurance doesn’t cover your visit. Recognizing this, and to encourage purchasing from licensed dispensaries for non-residents, DC allows adults 21+ to self-certify their need for medical marijuana without the need for a doctor’s recommendation or the need to be an actual resident. You can self-certify for as little as $10 for three days and up to $100 for a full year.

How to Self-Certify

The process to self-certify for medical marijuana in DC is easily done online and doesn’t take long. All you’ll need is a photo of yourself, a photo of a valid government-issued ID, a payment method, and your application. Simply fill out some basic information, including your name, address, phone number, and the length of time you wish to certify, then upload your photo and ID, and submit your application. You’ll receive an email with a link to make your payment. 

Your registration period will begin the same day your fee is paid. You’ll receive an email that serves as your temporary non-resident medical marijuana card, which can be used immediately after you receive it. 

How Much Cannabis Can You Buy in DC?

Registered medical marijuana patients can buy up to eight ounces of cannabis during a rolling 30-day period. So, if you buy an eighth or a quarter ounce, that same amount will be available to you 30 days after the date of purchase. For example, if you purchased 14 grams (½ ounce) of cannabis on March 8, it will be deducted from your 8-ounce limit for 30 days. You will then have 14 grams added to your available purchase limit after 30 days have passed.

Keep in mind that there are personal possession and purchase limits. In DC, medical and recreational possession is limited to two ounces total. You can also grow up to six plants, with no more than three being mature at a time. If you are gifting cannabis, you can not gift more than an ounce at a time nor receive payment, goods, or additional services for the exchange. 

Where to Buy Weed in DC

Buying weed in DC doesn’t have to be difficult, but finding a reputable dispensary can be. Many unregulated shops have popped up that operate in a legal gray area. However, because they are unregulated, these shops aren’t always your best bet for a quality product or reliable selection. DC has many licensed dispensaries, and with the option of self-certification, the expense is often worth it for quality, safety and a wide variety of all the excellent cannabis products DC has to offer. 

Where Can You Smoke Weed Legally in DC?

In DC, it’s illegal to smoke cannabis in public spaces—this includes parks, restaurants, stores, hotels, and apartment buildings. Unless it is a privately owned residence, you should assume that it’s illegal to smoke weed there. There are cannabis-friendly Airbnb rentals and other accommodations available for visitors, and legal consumption lounges are on the horizon with a launch date expected sometime in 2024.

Shop Premium Cannabis at Takoma Wellness

The medical marijuana program in DC has seen many changes since the first dispensary opened in 2013, but Takoma Wellness has been around through it all. 

Whether you’re a true local or visiting the area, stop by our shop and be greeted by our friendly and knowledgeable budtenders. You can order online for pickup and review our huge menu packed with quality products, from pre-rolls to edibles to vape pens and more! Or, get your cannabis delivered for extra convenience. Whatever you choose, we’re ready to serve you.