washington dc recreational marijuana


The Cannabis Law in Washington, DC

Personal Use

These are the rules:

  • Just like alcohol, marijuana can only be possessed or grown by adults. Currently, you must be 21 years and older to do either in DC.
    • These rules apply to all adults, even visitors from out of state.
  • The most you can possess is:
    • Up to 2 ounces of marijuana
      • Either on your person and/or in your household
  • Adults can also grow their own plants at home.
    • Up to 6 marijuana plants can be cultivated at one time
      • No more than 3 can be mature or flowering plants at once
    • No more than a total of 12 plants can be cultivated in a single household no matter how many adults live there
      • No more than 6 can be mature or flowering at once
  • Adults 21 and over can share marijuana with other adults. The rules are:
    • Up to 1 ounce can be transferred
    • All transfers “are to be free of remuneration” – meaning, the marijuana is a gift
      • No money can change hands
  • The sale and/or use by adults of paraphernalia related to marijuana consumption, cultivation, or processing is allowed.
  • To learn more about what adults can and cannot do under I-71, see the DC Cannabis Campaign’s answers.

A Word About Medical Marijuana

The measure to make medical marijuana legal in Washington, DC was passed by voters in 1998 but Congress successfully blocked the new law from taking effect until 2010. Fortunately, Initiative 71 legalizing recreational marijuana made no mention of nor had any impact on the medical marijuana program in DC.

  • Medical marijuana remains legal in DC and is regulated under a system that is completely separate from recreational marijuana.
    • The MMJ program is overseen by the DC Department of Health (DOH).
  • Patients will continue to be able to purchase medical marijuana from any of the licensed dispensaries operating in DC.
    • These dispensaries cannot sell marijuana to anyone who is not registered with the DC medical marijuana program.
  • In November 2016, the city council passed bill B21-210 that made significant improvements to the program:
    • The improvements went into effect in February 2017 after the required 30-day period of Congressional review
    • The law now requires independent laboratory testing of medical marijuana to ensure patient safety
    • The cap on the number of plants a medical marijuana cultivation facility can grow is increased to 1,000
    • A person with a misdemeanor drug conviction or a conviction for possession with intent to distribute marijuana is no longer prohibited from working in the medical marijuana industry
    • Once a planned district-wide electronic tracking system is in place, patients will be able to purchase marijuana from any licensed dispensary rather than only one

Buying Marijuana

You’re 21 years old and you want to buy marijuana in Washington, DC. Where can you get some?

  • If you’re a medical marijuana patient, you can purchase marijuana at any of the licensed dispensaries.
  • If you’re a recreational user, you cannot purchase marijuana anywhere – or from anyone.
    • The only way to legally obtain recreational marijuana in DC is by receiving it as a gift from an adult who is 21 years old or older
      • The gift can be 1 ounce or less of “usable marijuana”
      • Or a single marijuana plant to be grown in your home
  • DC residents are hoping that legislation establishing a regulatory framework for a recreational marijuana industry in DC passes soon

While residents of DC await the passage of legislation that would allow a regulated industry to be formed for the sale of recreational marijuana, some enterprising entrepreneurs are using the gifting clause of Initiative 71 in interesting ways.

  • Online delivery services have been established that remain compliant with the law by selling and delivering other products to customers, then giving an ounce or less to them as a gift.
    • Some even accept credit cards!
  • While somewhat questionable since they’re open to the public, some businesses that sell other things (food/drink/juices, t-shirts, backpacks, even art) tack on a small marijuana gift when a purchase is made.
  • Other folks are hosting and selling tickets to private events (discussion groups, internet television show recordings, private club parties) and then giving away free marijuana to ticket holders.


Where can you consume marijuana in Washington, DC?

  • You can legally consume cannabis products in DC if you are:
    • On private property
    • Outside the view of the general public (and on private property)
  • You cannot consume marijuana:
    • In public, including
      • On the street
      • In public parks
      • In bars and restaurants
      • In your vehicle
      • At sporting or other events
      • Anywhere smoking is banned
    • On federal land, including:
      • National parks
      • Federal courthouses
      • National monuments
      • Military bases
      • The National Mall

Police Enforcement

Driving High

Initiative 71 specifically states that it makes no changes to the current law related to “driving under the influence of marijuana or driving while impaired by marijuana.”

So what is driving high in Washington, DC?

  • There is no consensus in DC about how much marijuana in the system actually impairs driving as there is in Colorado or Washington state.
  • Instead, it is simply illegal to be under the influence of marijuana while driving.
  • And, a person suspected of driving under the influence has–simply by virtue of driving in the state–given “implied consent” to provide a blood or urine sample to police for testing.
  • With laws this murky, it’s best to avoid driving at all after consuming marijuana, no matter how little you consume.

How an officer can stop you:

  • An officer can stop you for another offense, such as speeding, illegal turn, expired tag, etc.
  • Or if they have probable cause that you are driving impaired. This includes:
    • Speeding
    • Swerving
    • Illegal actions of any kind
    • Other suspicious driving activity
  • The District of Columbia also allows law enforcement to set up random roadblocks to check both motorist operation without a license and/or operation with impaired ability due to intoxication.

What happens when they stop you:

  • They will ask some questions, observe your behavior, and probably have you take a preliminary breath test.
  • If you pass the breath test–meaning no alcohol is detected–then they’ll conduct field sobriety tests to determine your level of impairment. The test can be:
    • Walk the Line Test–you’ll be asked to walk in a straight line and the officer will watch for lack of balance, inability to stay on a straight line, or breaks in walking.
    • One Leg Stand Test–you will be asked to raise your foot, be still, count, and look down, and the officer will watch for swaying, hopping, or putting your foot down.
  • They’ll also look for:
    • Dilated pupils
    • The smell of pot
    • Eyelid or body tremors
    • Especially relaxed and uninhibited behavior
    • Short term memory problems
  • If you fail the field sobriety test and/or an officer has other probable cause to suspect you’re driving while high, he or she can arrest you and require you to take a chemical test to determine if there is THC in your system.
    • If you refuse the testing, the officer then has to inform you that your driver’s license will be revoked for 1 year if you do not submit.
    • If after being informed of this, you continue to refuse, the officer will revoke your license on the spot and take you to jail.
  • Learn more about the laws and penalties related to drugged driving in DC from NORML.

Penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana include:

  • For a first offense:
    • A fine of $300
    • Possible imprisonment for up to 90 days
  • For a second offense:
    • A fine of $1,000 to $5,000
    • Imprisonment of not less than 5 days but up to 1 year
    • Possible community service of at least 30 days
    • Possible license suspension of 1 year
  • For a third offense:
    • A fine of $2,000 to $10,000
    • Imprisonment of not less than 10 days but up to 1 year
    • Possible community service of at least 60 days
    • Possible license suspension of 2 years
  • Learn more about the penalties for drugged driving from the DC Metropolitan Police Department.

Other Legal Information

Possession of usable marijuana:

  • More than 2 ounces is a misdemeanor with up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Our nation’s capitol has a little work to do in regard to how to handle cultivation of more than the maximum number of plants adults are allowed to grow.

  • They say there is no penalty and no fine for having up to 6 plants per adult (or 12 per household)
  • But they do not yet define penalties for having more than 6 plants.
    • Most legal experts believe DC will view more than 6 plants as intent to distribute and will apply penalties accordingly.

Sale, distribution, or intent to distribute:

  • 1/2 pound or less (first offense) is an unclassified offense with up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • A subsequent offense carries a penalty of up to 2 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
  • Distribution to a minor means additional penalties.
  • Distribution within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, or public recreational area (including pools, playgrounds, video arcades, youth centers, and public libraries) doubles the penalties.

Possession and/or sale of paraphernalia:

  • Possession for personal use or at home has no penalty for adults 21 and over.
  • If you’re under 21, possession of paraphernalia will result in a fine of $100 and up to 30 days in jail.
  • Sale of paraphernalia, first offense, results in a fine of up to a $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail.
  • Sale of paraphernalia, subsequent offenses, results in a fine of up to a $5,000 and up to 2 years in jail.

TOTALLY HIGH TOURS The Cannabis Law in Washington, DC Personal Use These are the rules: Just like alcohol, marijuana can only be possessed or grown by adults. Currently,

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:

Marijuana Tours

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.

Cannabis Lounges

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!

420-Friendly Lodging

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,, WheresWeed DC, and 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.