The Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana Use in Washington, D.C.
There’s much to do and see in America’s capital city . Coincidentally, one of those activities may include smoking some weed. But before you run out to light up a joint at the Washington Monument, there are definitely some things you should know.
Where and How to Buy
Though small amounts of marijuana can be possessed and consumed in Washington, D.C., by adults 21 and older, cannabis sales are currently not allowed. It can be grown at home and shared only.
How to Consume
Those 21 and older can smoke and consume cannabis edibles legally on private property only. Up to six cannabis plants, and up to three of these mature plants can be grown in an individual’s primary residence. Up to an ounce of marijuana can be transferred, but not sold, to someone 21 years and older.
What Isn’t Allowed
It is illegal for anyone younger than 21 to possess marijuana. But those 21 and older can possess up to 2 ounces, or 56.7 grams, of cannabis. It is a criminal offense to possess more than 2 ounces.
An adult 21 and older can also transfer up to 1 ounce, or 28,35 grams, of cannabis to someone else 21 and older as long as no money, goods, or services are exchanged. It is a crime to sell any amount to another person. The penalty for selling marijuana is potentially six months in jail or a $1,000 fine for a first offense.
Marijuana can be used in private homes only – though an apartment landlord can still restrict use. It’s a crime to use it in public or anywhere the public gathers, including bars, coffee shops, and public housing. Note that since marijuana is considered illegal on the federal level, federal law enforcement officers can still arrest people within the city for possessing any amount of cannabis.
The penalty for using marijuana in public is up to 60 days in jail or a $500 fine. Adults 21 and older can grow at home up to six plants, of which a maximum of three are mature. In a dwelling with multiple adults 21 and older, a maximum of 12 plants, of which no more than six can be mature, are allowed. It is illegal to operate a vehicle or watercraft while under the influence of cannabis.
Since there is no purchase of marijuana allowed in the District of Columbia, it may be a little tougher to come by in the capital city. But if you do, don’t get too excited and take too much all at once. You won’t have the benefit of walking into a retail location and asking a budtender about appropriate dosing, so no matter what form you take, start very small. It is much better to feel nothing at all than too much. Take your time to adjust to the new experience.
Cannabis Legalization in Washington, D.C.
Washington D.C. voters passed the Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Initiative of 2014, or Initiative 71, in November 2014 with nearly 65 percent of D.C. voter approval. On Feb. 26, 2015, it became legal for adults 21 and older in the city to possess small amounts of marijuana in certain circumstances.
Prior to the passage of Initiative 71, using or possessing marijuana without a doctor’s recommendation was prohibited under Initiative 59, or the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998. Initiative 59 was approved by 69 percent of voters in 1998; however, Congress passed the Barr Amendment that blocked implementation of medical marijuana within the capital. The first medical marijuana sale didn’t actually take place until 2009 when Congress lifted the ban.
The Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana Use in Washington, D.C. There’s much to do and see in America’s capital city . Coincidentally, one of those activities may include smoking some weed. But before
How To Get Weed in DC
Cannabis is legal in Washington DC but there’s no dispensaries like you’d find in Denver, Seattle, or Los Angeles. When the city passed Initiative 71, a rider was added to the federal spending budget that prevents the District from setting up a similar retail sales program. No worries, baby! I71 still allows adults to possess, grow, and share weed, so in the absence of licensed businesses, a private market of marijuana gifts bloomed to help you get weed in DC. Here, let me show you around!
I71 Weed-Gifting Services
Here’s the list of services that I currently recommend and promote here for high-quality gifts and dedication to customer service:
- Baked DC: Menu | Review | Website | 202-230-2463
- Street Lawyer Services: Menu | Review | 202-839-4200 | 409 H St NE Washington DC 20002
- Exotic Organics DC: Menu | Review | Website | 202-817-6725
- Peace In the Air: Menu | Review | 202-905-2330 | 2118 18th St NW Washington DC 20009
- Bagged Buds: Review | Photos | Website | 202-505-7619
- Gifted Curators DC: Menu | Review | 202-684-9915 | 2469 18th St NW Washington DC 20009
- Select Co-Op: Menu | Review | Website | 202-459-1401
- Green Kings DC: Menu | Review | Website | 202-570-4850
- Canamelo: Review | Photos | Website | 202-274-0298
- Lucky Chuckie: Menu | Review | Website | 202-424-8367
- Athena’s Gifts: Menu | Website | 202-749-0042
- Lifted Shop DC: Menu | Review | 202-332-8494 | 2622 Georgia Ave NW Washington DC 20001
- Puff Kings DC: Menu | Website | 202-792-9891
- Entourage DC: Photos | Instagram | 202-848-8781
- Heady Club DC: Menu | Review | Website | 202-460-8698
- Exotic Blooms: Menu | Review | Website | 202-317-9158
- Hidden Leaf DC: Menu | Review | Website | 202-750-3194
Five Ways to Get Weed in DC
There are five ways to get weed in DC that don’t require a medical marijuana card (if you don’t include growing it yourself). You don’t need to be a DC resident, either! Some brands may offer more than one of these options. I’ve sorted my favorite brands by type and gift availability on the Menu Directory to help you find what you’re looking for fast!
But if you’re like me and nothing but the best marijuana will do, then check out my weekly Reviews instead! Every gift featured is available at the time of posting and has personally been inspected and approved for quality by yours truly.
Storefronts are the closest you’ll get to a dispensary experience without a medical card in DC. These typically do not require an appointment, so you may encounter a line, but you’ll have time to peruse the gift display and ask questions. Often hosted inside a smoke shop or CBD store, but there are exceptions. Lifted Shop DC, for example, is located upstairs from ListenVision Studios at 2622 Georgia Ave NW (open from 12-8pm everyday!)
A Pick-Up is when you meet the brand at a private indoor location, like a hotel room, apartment, or AirBNB, and typically requires an appointment. It’s similar to a storefront otherwise, as you’ll have time to ask questions and check out their selection of cannabis gifts before choosing what you want. 1-2 hours in advance should be enough time to secure an appointment, but setting your appointment the day before is a good idea, especially if you’re tight on time. BakedDC is a popular Pick-Up brand (open from 10am-10pm everyday!)
Delivery brands send your gift to a location of your choice. In my experience, the average time is between 1 and 2 hours, so make sure you’re going to be in one place for at least two hours if you go with delivery- or set an appointment in advance the day before! Also note that they cannot deliver to federal property, like the National Mall. Exotic Blooms is a classic example of a Delivery brand (open 9am-7pm everyday! Text or call 202-317-9158 to make an appointment).
Meet-Ups are like a delivery, but the brand tells you the location, which will usually be in front of a coffee shop or restaurant. This is great for visitors unfamiliar with the city, but you could also just ask a regular Delivery brand to suggest a place to meet. I’m sure most will accommodate that sort of request. Since they’re functionally the same as Delivery, I have included them in that category. Select Co-Op primarily offers Meet-Ups.
Pop-Ups, otherwise known as Events, typically have several brands with table displays of weed gifts set up inside a bar, restaurant, or nightclub. Their frequency has waned as police have raided many such events in recent years. FYI, there’s been a Social Use Ban that went into effect, like, a month after I71 kicked off. Here’s the FAQ I wrote about what you can expect at these marijuana pop-up events.
Getting Weed in DC- Coronavirus Update!
During the ongoing pandemic, some Pick-Ups and Storefronts are offering curbside pick-up instead of letting people inside. Curbside Pick-Up is functionally the same as Meet-Ups, above.
Where Can I Smoke Weed in DC?
You’ve successfully got weed in DC, congrats! Now, where do you smoke it? Legally, you’re not allowed to smoke weed in public. The fine is pretty small ($25) so long as you’re on DC-owned land and not federal land (like the National Mall). But if you’re like me and would rather avoid any potential hassles with Johnny Law on your visit, here’s a few options to consider:
Lucky Chuckie Tours will pick you up and drive you around the Nation’s Capital while you enjoy their flower-infused treats. Book them for a romantic evening with your special someone around the National Harbor, or maybe y’all would prefer drive-thru dinosaurs instead? Get a lift from Lucky Chuckie to the Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru Dinosaur Tour on the RFK Stadium grounds! Get stoned and look at dinosaurs, man! Need I say more? RSVP now.
Visit Lifted at 2622 Georgia Ave NW and rent time in their Hot Box, a private lounge next to their in-house cafe of infused treats. No weed? No problem! Lifted’s I71 storefront is right across the hall. You can book your appointment (in 15 or 30 minute increments) in advance online if you’re on a tight schedule!
Planning a longer visit and want a place to stay where smoking weed is explicitly allowed? Go on to AirBNB, then filter by House Rules -> Smoking Allowed. You’ll find several properties from single rooms to entire houses that will welcome traveling stoners with open arms and, in some cases, fat doobies.
What is Initiative 71?
In Washington DC, thanks to Initiative 71, adults 21+ are allowed to:
- Grow up to 6 marijuana plants, only 3 of which may be mature (“flowering”) at a time
- Possess up to two ounces in public
- share up to one ounce with another adult 21+
- But you can’t sell it
- And you can’t smoke it in public, either; if you’re caught it’s a $25 fine.
- (You can actually go down to the station and get your weed back if you’re caught smoking in public with less than two ounces. Strange days, indeed.)
- This only applies on DC-owned land. Cannabis is still federally illegal and around 30% of DC is federal property, like National Parks & government buildings (map) but also federally-subsidized housing
So the way many I71 marijuana-gifting services get around the restriction on sales is to sell something else, like tee-shirts, hats, juices, digital art, lunchboxes, all kinds of stuff, then give you a bag of buds as a free thank you gift. You do not have to be a resident and you don’t need a medical card!
Still have questions? Here’s the DC Weed Delivery FAQ page.
FYI, there are few other sites out there that can help you find buds, but I can’t vouch for the reliability or quality of anyone not on this site. Should you wish to step off the Gentleman’s lighted path, you can check out 420dc.com, LeafedIn.org, WheresWeed DC, and Marijuanas.org. Be careful with anyone that asks you to pay using an app or Bitcoin or anything you can’t reverse in advance as a First Time Customer! Rip-offs are rare but it is the Wild West out there, pilgrim.
How to Get Medical Weed in DC
Want to get your hands on lab-tested products? DC’s medical marijuana program started accepting patients for any condition whatsoever thanks to emergency legislation enacted in 2015. They started accepting out-of-state medical cards in 2018. Your Gentleman, naturally, has some opinions:
Maryland’s medical program has been going strong- visit my Ultimate Guide to Marijuana in Maryland for more info! Want more info on getting your medical marijuana card in DC, Maryland, or Virginia? Why, I’ve got a page just for you, my fine friend, step right this way. More reviews? Oh, Beauregard, you flatter me! Right here under the Medical tag.
Grow Your Own Weed in DC
If you consume a lot of cannabis, growing your own is definitely a consideration. A single adult can grow up to 6 plants in Washington DC, only 3 of which can be mature at once (which I presume to mean ‘flowering’). Here’s the rules on growing your own at home. If you do choose to grow, the local head shops and hydroponic shops are a great place to find seeds, sometimes even clones. Check out DC Seed Exchange to find packs from the hottest new micro-breeders!
CBD Shipped to Your Door!
Have you heard about the benefits of a sexy little cannabinoid called CBD and want to try it out yourself? There’s brick and mortar shops opening up all over the city since the last Farm Bill legalized hemp as well as a bazillion online companies that’ll ship to you anywhere in the US.
I really like District Hemp here locally- you can find my reviews of their products here and here. They ship anywhere in the US and they’ve got store locations in DC, Leesburg, and Manassas! Here’s their website.
Get Outta Town!
The Gentleman is also an avid ganja tourist. You can find marijuana reviews here of products I picked up from a Dispensary while traveling in Denver, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and adding more all the time, God bless America.
The #1 source for weed in DC! Discover Initiative 71 marijuana dispensaries, weed delivery services, and cannabis personally curated by GT.