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


  • Recreational users



  • 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 regarding the 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 buy cannabis in Washington, D.C. This means that D.C. has not officially legalized cannabis but is more akin to a “liberalized decriminalization.”

Moreover, on July 6, 2022, several drastic changes were made to the Washington, D.C. Medical Cannabis Program. Washington, D.C. residents 21 years of age or older may now self-certify on their application form “that they will use cannabis purchased from a licensed dispensary for medical purposes instead of securing a recommendation from their healthcare provider.” You must give your social security number (SSN) to self-certify.

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

Medical Cannabis Laws in Washington, D.C.


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 D.C. from using its funds to support the program.


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


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


Medical cannabis is legalized adequately in Washington D.C.

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


Effective July 6, 2022, D.C. residents at least 21 years of age may self-certify on their patient application that they will use cannabis purchased from a licensed dispensary for medical purposes instead of securing a recommendation from their healthcare provider.

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


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, and anyone under 21 is prohibited from possessing marijuana.

Washington, D.C.’s laws can be pretty confusing, so here are 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.
  • No specific medical conditions 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 must 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 based on their consultation with a qualified healthcare provider.

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

-SSN is now required for patients registering for the state:

D.C. residents must submit an Adult or Minor Patient Application. Required items for the Adult Application include:

  1. Social Security Number or a copy of an affidavit stating lack of one.
  2. One (1) current face photo, 2″x2″.
  3. One (1) copy of their DC DMV REAL ID* OR:- One (1) proof of D.C. residency and
    – One (1) copy of a government-issued photo I.D.
  4. If not self-certifying, a healthcare practitioner recommendation is dated within two (2) years of the application submission date. Applicants 21 years of age may self-certify instead of providing a recommendation.

For those who choose to secure a physician’s recommendation (e.g., for a minor patient, those seeking a physician’s advice and integrating cannabis treatment with other treatments), it is still possible to do so. 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 talk to a doctor and qualify for a Washington DC medical marijuana card online. The cost of the online consultation is $99, and you are only billed if approved.
  2. Receive your certificate from Leafwell – This certificate says that your doctor recommends you become a cannabis patient under the state’s current laws. This certificate is required to apply for your MMJ Card and includes your recommendation number. You can purchase immediately with this certificate but must complete step 3 within 30 days.
  3. Complete the application on the government website – Complete this form, including adding the recommendation number on your certificate and the name of your physician. You will need to register with 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.

Get your medical marijuana card

Connect with a licensed physician online in minutes.

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

Yes, telemedicine is legal in Washington D.C. You can get certified for cannabis online. Please note that you must be a Washington, D.C. resident to qualify for medical cannabis.

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 three immature plants per person for adult use and medical marijuana patients.

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

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

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia *
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

Reciprocity for V.A. residents: * Virginia patients may present a valid Virginia-issued registration, or an expired Virginia-issued registration with a Virginia healthcare provider-issued recommendation dated within one calendar year of the purchase date, effective July 1, 2022.

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), but it is not guaranteed.

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
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

However, this does not always mean you can purchase cannabis at a medical marijuana dispensary (non-medical adult use is acceptable) – just that the state’s medical marijuana laws protect you to some extent. It is wise to call the dispensary ahead if you are a medical cannabis patient from another state and intend to purchase 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 accountable to the visiting state’s medical marijuana laws, not the state that issued your card.

The following states accept out-of-state applications, allowing 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 cardholders 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 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 buy cannabis. Only those with a legal license to sell cannabis can 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 other such healthcare space is also unlawful. Private members’ clubs 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, keep consumption out of public view, and utilize discreet consumption methods wherever possible.