Ever since Initiative 71 passed into law in 2014, adults living in the District of Columbia have had an easier time buying, storing, and using legal cannabis. However, just because it’s been decriminalized doesn’t mean there aren’t laws and regulations impacting how, when and where you can get weed in DC. There are still significant differences between medical marijuana dispensaries and retailers claiming to “gift” recreational weed in the US Capitol. 

DC residents who are searching for medical or recreational cannabis must take the time to read through the fine print for the latest weed laws in DC, as the district’s laws can be a bit tricky. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, and with a better grip on these cannabis policies, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to ensure you’re set up for success. 

Recreational Weed Laws in DC 

First things first: It is legal to possess recreational cannabis in DC but not to purchase or sell it—this is where DC’s adult-use cannabis laws get a bit murky. Federal restrictions prevent DC from taxing and regulating cannabis sales, but that hasn’t stopped loopholes from forming, and many unregulated storefronts operate throughout the area. These storefronts allow you to purchase small, non-cannabis items and will then “gift” cannabis at checkout, along with your trinket purchase. Though they’re common, since this manner of operation is unregulated, the products they sell are also unregulated. To purchase legal cannabis you’ll need to visit legal and regulated dispensaries. 

Restrictions surrounding the possession of recreational cannabis, which is outlined in the District of Columbia weed laws include:

  • For those 21 and over, it’s legal to hold two ounces of cannabis for recreational use on private property. DC police can charge residents with a misdemeanor if they discover over two ounces of cannabis on their premises.
  • Anyone under 21 who possesses cannabis can face legal consequences if they can not provide a medical marijuana card that’s been approved by a physician and maintained by a legal guardian. 
  • Current weed law in DC posits no issue with adults owning cannabis-related paraphernalia (e.g., bongs or joint paper) and using cannabis inside of their homes. 
  • If residents in DC want to “gift” cannabis to another adult in the district, they may do so, provided they transfer no more than one ounce of cannabis, and there’s no value exchange (e.g., a cash sale). 
  • Cannabis is only legal for consumption in private residences. If adults are caught using cannabis in a public space in DC, they face a misdemeanor charge, and there are even stiffer penalties if cannabis users are caught using this substance while operating a car, boat, or heavy machinery. 

In regards to CBD, the District of Columbia weed laws follow the federal guidelines. If someone is in possession of hemp-derived CBD products with ≤ 0.3 % delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis, they are protected from legal ramifications, as hemp-derived products have been federally legalized due to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill

Medical Marijuana Laws in DC

Although medical marijuana legislation in DC dates back to the 1990s, it wasn’t until the 2010s that legal dispensaries in the nation’s capitol started offering patients legal cannabis products. Now, with the decriminalization of recreational cannabis, medical marijuana patients in DC have an even easier time finding registered dispensaries and using their medical cannabis on private premises. Here are the current weed laws in DC for medical cannabis patients:

  • Medical patients can buy eight ounces of bud from licensed dispensaries on a rolling 30-day period. 
  • To qualify for a DC medical marijuana card, residents must apply through the Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration (ABC) and pay applicable registration fees (currently set at $100 for new registrations and renewals). 
  • Some residents may qualify for a reduced fee if enrolled in programs like Medicaid. Also, thanks to the Medical Marijuana Self-Certification Emergency Amendment Act of 2022, DC residents over 21 have the right to “self-certify” they’re using marijuana for a particular condition when applying for an MMJ card.
  • Out-of-state medical marijuana—or reciprocity—is accepted. Reciprocity is extended to those who have a valid patient registration issued by some respective US state or territory programs. You can self-certify for as little as $10 for three days and up to $100 for a full year.

Though you can always head to an unregulated storefront, obtaining a medical cannabis card is quick and simple for both locals and non-residents. 

Can You Grow Weed in DC?

If there are any DC cannabis fans with a green thumb, you’re in luck. The current weed laws in DC allow adults to cultivate weed at home, but there are limitations on how much they can grow on-premises. 

As long as you’re 21+ in DC, you can grow up to six cannabis plants in your private residence at once. However, keep in mind that only three of these plants can be mature at any given time. 

DC Weed Laws: How to Buy Cannabis in the Capitol

Initiative 71 decriminalized the possession, use, and “gifting” of cannabis in the District of Columbia, but it didn’t set up a legal precedent for the sale of cannabis at recreational dispensaries. 

While it’s possible to get cannabis through this “gifting economy,” these storefronts are unregulated. In 2024, DC legislators moved forward with legislation targeting unlicensed cannabis gift shops and encouraged shop owners to move toward medical marijuana licensing. 

Currently, only registered medical marijuana dispensaries like Takoma Wellness meet DC’s extensive guidelines for legal compliance and lab testing, promising customers a superior selection of high-quality cannabis products with transparent results. With the stricter standards medical dispensaries have to meet in DC—and ease of self-certification to access medical dispensaries—it’s easy to shop medical dispensaries for trusted names and the best selection of lab-verified cannabis. 

Shop Premium Cannabis in Washington, DC With Takoma Wellness 

The weed laws in DC allow for both medical patients and all adults aged 21 and older to enjoy cannabis. As long as you’re over 21, you can possess up to two ounces of cannabis, consume weed in a private residence, and grow up to six plants on your premises. Medical marijuana patients have even greater freedom to buy up to eight ounces of weed from licensed dispensaries every 30 days and work with a registered caretaker. 

If you’re new to buying cannabis in DC, head to Takoma Wellness for more personalized help throughout the process. As DC’s oldest and most respected medical dispensary, we offer a vast selection of premium products and the expertise to help you find what you need when you need it. 

Shop in-store or browse our online menu and choose our convenient delivery service.