Washington D.C. Cannabis Laws

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Legal status

  • Medical Program

Possession limits

  • Medical patients

    4 oz

  • Recreational users

    2 oz

State taxes

  • Medical patients

    5.75%

  • Recreational users

    5.75%

Cultivation

  • Medical patients

    6 plantsMax 3 mature

  • Recreational users

    6 plantsMax 3 mature


  • Cultivation is legal
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Application process

To apply for a medical cannabis card in Washington DC

Once you have registered with Leafwell and been approved by one of our medical marijuana doctors online, apply to the state medical marijuana program. Receive your MMJ card and start shopping for your medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary.

Get your card

Table of contents

  1. Is cannabis legal in Washington D.C.?
  2. What are the medical marijuana laws in Washington D.C.?
  3. What medical conditions qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington D.C.?
  4. How do I get certified for medical cannabis in Washington D.C.?
  5. Is telemedicine allowed for medical cannabis consultations in Washington D.C.?
  6. How much cannabis can I possess in Washington D.C. with an MMJ Card?
  7. Is it legal to grow cannabis in Washington D.C.?
  8. Does Washington D.C. accept out-of-state cards?
  9. Will my Washington D.C. card be accepted in other states?
  10. Are there employment laws protecting medical cannabis card holders in Washington D.C.?
  11. What are the medical cannabis product testing requirements in Washington D.C.?
  12. Where is it safe to purchase cannabis in Washington D.C.?
  13. Where is it safe to consume marijuana in Washington D.C.?

Washington, D.C. has some rather unusual laws when it comes to adult use of cannabis. Those without a medical marijuana card can possess or cultivate cannabis, but not purchase or gift it. Only medical cannabis patients can legally purchase cannabis in Washington D.C. This means that D.C. has not officially legalized cannabis, but is more akin to a “liberalized decriminalization”.


What are the medical marijuana laws in Washington D.C.?

Medical Cannabis Laws in Washington, D.C.

1998

Initiative 5 Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998

Although marijuana is legal under District law, the possession of marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Marijuana prohibition is enforced on federal lands, including national parks and military property. The federal government controls about 29% of the District’s total land area, about 18 square miles (47 km2), including the National Mall, West Potomac Park, Rock Creek Park, and Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling.

Though the initiative passed with 69% of the vote in November 1998, its implementation was delayed by Congress’s passage of the Barr Amendment, which prohibited DC from using its funds in support of the program.

2009

The Barr Amendment delayed the start of the medical marijuana program until it was effectively overturned in 2009, with the first DC customer legally purchasing medical cannabis at a dispensary in the District in 2013.

2010

In May 2010, the Council of the District of Columbia passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana. The Congress did not overrule the measure within the 30-legislative-day period, and as a result medical cannabis became legal on January 1, 2011.

2011

Medical cannabis is properly legalized in Washington.D.C.

However, no dispensaries were open until 1st August, 2013 and no cards were issued before that date.

Recreational (Adult Use or Non-Medical) Cannabis Laws in Wasgington, D.C.

2014

Washington D.C. Marijuana Legalization Initiative 71

Initiative 71 permitted the use of up to two ounces of marijuana and the possession and cultivation of up to three marijuana plants.

Congress did not allow a citizen initiative to mandate the expenditure of city funds. This prevented Initiative 71 from addressing the regulation and legalization of marijuana sales, since a regulatory system would require substantial city expenditure.

Initiative 71 was partially overturned. Non-medical cannabis sale is still illegal in Washington, D.C., as is public consumption. Any aged under 21 is prohibited from possessing marijuana.

Washington, D.C.’s laws can be quite confusing, so here’s the essentials you need to keep in mind:

  • Non-medical users cannot purchase or sell cannabis – only possess and grow. “Gifting” cannabis is also illegal.
  • Only those with a valid medical marijuana card may legally purchase cannabis from a medical marijuana dispensary in Washington, D.C.
  • There are no specific medical conditions that qualify for medical cannabis in Washington, D.C. – this is up to your certifying physician or healthcare provider.
  • Once certified for medical marijuana in Washington, D.C., you will need to apply online to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) for your medical cannabis card. Without this, you cannot purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary in Washington, D.C.
  • All cannabis sold in D.C must be grown in D.C

What medical conditions qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington D.C.?

There are no specific qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in Washington, D.C. The decision as to whether a patient qualifies is based on their consultation with a qualified healthcare provider.


How do I get certified for medical cannabis in Washington D.C.?

With Leafwell, you can get your Washington DC Medical Marijuana Card in 4 simple steps:

  1. Register online with Leafwell and speak with our physician – You can speak to a doctor and qualify for a Washington DC medical marijuana card online. The cost of the online consultation is $99. You are only billed if approved.
  2. Receive your certificate from Leafwell – This is a certificate which says that your doctor recommends you become a cannabis patient under the state’s current laws and this certificate is required to apply for your MMJ Card. It includes your recommendation number. You can purchase immediately with this certificate but will need to complete step 3 within 30 days.
  3. Complete the Application on the government website – Complete this form including adding in the recommendation number on your certificate and the name of your physician. You will need to register to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.
  4. Receive your medical marijuana card – Your card will be mailed to you once your application is complete. Your card will be valid for one year from the date of issue.

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Is telemedicine allowed for medical cannabis consultations in Washington D.C.?

Yes, telemedicine is legal in Washington DC and you can get certified for cannabis online.


How much cannabis can I possess in Washington D.C. with an MMJ Card?

  • For medical card holders = 2 oz., with a 4 oz. purchase limit
  • For adult users = 2 oz.

Up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants per person – both for adult use and medical marijuana patients.


Does Washington D.C. accept out-of-state cards?

Washington, D.C. has medical marijuana reciprocity, and so recognizes out-of-state medical marijuana cards issued by other states’ medicinal cannabis programs.


Will my Washington D.C. card be accepted in other states?

A Washington, D.C. medical cannabis card is recognized by some other states’ medical marijuana programs (i.e. they have reciprocity).

The following states accept or recognize out-of-state medical marijuana cards:

  • Arizona
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • US Virgin Islands

However, this does not always mean you can purchase cannabis at a medical marijuana dispensary (non-medical adult use is fine) – just that you are protected by the state’s medical marijuana laws to some extent. It is wise to call the dispensary ahead if you are a medical cannabis patient from another state and you intend on purchasing medical marijuana.

The qualifying condition usually has to match between states, so if your qualifying condition is accepted in one state and not your visiting state, your recommendation is not necessarily valid. You are also beholden to the visiting state’s medical marijuana laws, not the state that issued your card.

The following states accept out-of-state applications, allowing a visiting patient application to use medical cannabis for the duration of their stay:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • West Virginia (cancer patients only)

Are there employment laws protecting medical cannabis card holders in Washington D.C.?

In 2015, the District of Columbia Council recently passed legislation to ban an employer from testing for marijuana until a conditional job offer has been made – unless otherwise required by law.

However, an employer may carry out a drug test for those who are employed. The law also allows employers to implement and enforce a workplace drug policy that includes marijuana restrictions. There is no specific legislation that protects medical marijuana patients. In such instances, it is at the employer’s discretion whether or not they wish to carry on with employing a medical marijuana patient.


What are the medical cannabis product testing requirements in Washington D.C.?

Cannabis and cannabis-containing products in Washington, D.C. must be tested for moisture content, water activity, terpene and cannabinoid levels (THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, CBN), foreign matter contamination, microbial and/or mycotoxin contamination, heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury), pesticide and/or fertilizer residue, residual solvents, and homogeneity (for edibles).


Where is it safe to purchase cannabis in Washington D.C.?

In all states with a medical marijuana program, the only way to purchase medicinal cannabis products is via a legally-licensed dispensary or pharmacy, or another legally designated space to purchase cannabis. Only those with a legal license to sell cannabis can actually do so.


Where is it safe to consume marijuana in Washington D.C.?

All states with a medical marijuana program have some restrictions on where a person can legally use cannabis. Near schools, nurseries, parks or other places where children are expected to be, using cannabis is illegal. Use of cannabis on or in federal land or buildings, hospitals or any other such healthcare space is also illegal. Private members club and landowners may also prohibit cannabis use on their property or restrict it at their discretion.

The safest place to use medical cannabis is in the safety of your own home. It is wise to use common sense and generally keep consumption out of public view, and utilize discreet consumption methods wherever possible.