Cannabis businesses in Washington, D.C., can now apply for a medical cannabis business license. On March 22, 2023, B24-0113—the Medical Cannabis Amendment Act of 2021—became effective. This is great news for the many gray-market operators that have benefitted from the District’s cannabis gifting culture, where items like t-shirts or stickers are sold at inflated prices and come with a “free” cannabis gift.
The summary of B24-0113 says:
“As introduced, Bill 24-113 would allow qualifying patients to obtain their medical cannabis and medical cannabis products from any dispensary registered in the district. Dispensaries would operate safe use treatment facilities as well as offer tastings and demonstrations and/or classes with the proper endorsements. It would allow delivery and curbside pickup services by dispensaries. It eliminates the count on the number of plants that a cultivation center can grow and increases the number of permitted dispensaries in the district. Among other things it removes certain prohibitions against returning citizens ability to take part in the medical marijuana industry.”
This is great news for folks in D.C. who want to purchase cannabis, although it stands to change a few things about the gray cannabis market there. Let’s dive into medical cannabis in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., to see what it’s all about. We are going explore who can buy it, where it can be purchased, how much it costs, legal limits, and what the legalities of cannabis possession, sale/distribution, and cultivation are in Washington, D.C.
All About Cannabis in Washington, D.C.
The United States Census Bureau estimates the population of Washington, D.C., to be around 671,803 residents. According to WashingtonDCcannabis.org, “Adults aged 21 and above can use recreational and medical marijuana. Minors eligible to use medical cannabis can only purchase legal amounts with the help of their caregivers.” D.C. residents can have up to 2 ounces of cannabis in their possession. Those who live in D.C. can also grow up to six cannabis plants.
If there’s more than one eligible adult in a household, 12 plants are allowed to be cultivated as long as six are in flowering and six are in the vegetation stage. Current laws allow people to share up to 1 ounce of cannabis with other adults 21 years and up. Cannabis laws in Washington, D.C., are rather tricky: Cannabis is legal for both medical and recreational use for adults 21 years and up, but be careful where you take it.
As there is a lot of federal property in D.C. and cannabis is still illegal on a federal level, it can still get you in a lot of trouble with police depending on where you are, how much you have, and if you’re consuming or not. For example, public use is a misdemeanor charge, and if you have more than 2 ounces of cannabis, you could get charged with a misdemeanor, six months incarceration, and a max fine of $1,000. Sale or distribution of a half-pound or less can land you six months of incarceration and a $1,000 max fine.
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Anyone 21 years or older with a valid ID can be gifted cannabis from one of the more than 150 smoke shops and delivery services in Washington, D.C. Delivery services will even deliver cannabis to your hotel or one of the 420-friendly Airbnbs in the D.C. area. If you’re a medical cannabis patient in another state, Washington, D.C., offers reciprocity.
Whatever you do, don’t go wandering the streets of D.C. smoking weed, as you can still get in a lot of trouble for smoking on federal land. This means parks, most waterfront areas, federal buildings, and the National Mall. When it comes to finding weed in Washington, D.C., if you’re having trouble finding it, you’re just not putting forth the effort.
What’s Good for the Goose Should Be Good for the Gander
Federal lawmakers continue to support decades-old marijuana prohibition, yet cannabis is legal in the nation’s capital. This sends a mixed message across America and to other countries—the message that our politicians are unsure of themselves and are not communicating well. Marijuana prohibition is wrong. Continued marijuana prohibition is wrong. Those who support it—you guessed it—are wrong. There is more than enough information supporting the therapeutic and medicinal properties of cannabis. It should not be a Schedule I drug.
The only reason cannabis is still illegal at a federal level is because of private agendas. Large contributors to political campaigns expect a return on their investment, obviously. Nobody just gives up that kind of money for the fun of it. These politicians today are bought and paid for. Now they have to do what they’re told to do. They’re nothing more than political puppets that are in dire need of replacement. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. This means if medical and recreational cannabis is good enough for our nation’s capital, it should be good enough for all of the United States of America.
If you feel as strongly about the continued prohibition of cannabis as I do, I urge you to reach out to your local lawmakers on both a state and federal level and let them know it is time to end federal marijuana prohibition. If enough of us continue to speak our minds, they will eventually waste countless billions of tax dollars debating laws on how to enact cannabis reform and eventually end marijuana prohibition altogether.