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How I bought legal weed in Washington, D.C. (commentary)

Advance collage

How I bought legal weed in Washington, D.C.

Tom Wrobleski | [email protected]

Shouldn’t be difficult, right?

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., I wanted to see how easy it was to buy legal recreational marijuana.

Because these days, who doesn’t need to blaze a little bit in the nation’s capital, right? But it turns out that scoring weed wasn’t as straightforward as I thought.

Washington Post photo by Sarah L. Voisin

Legalize it!

In 2014, D.C. residents voted to legalize the recreational use of weed by a vote of 67 percent. Medicinal weed had previously been approved.

Washington Post photo by Charles Ommanney

Smokable and edible too

Possession of up to two ounces is legal. So you can smoke it. Or eat it baked into cookies, brownies or other edibles. You can grow it yourself. Yay, right?

But you can’t buy or sell it. Congressional lawmakers opposed to legalization put a rider in a 2014 budget bill that prevents recreational marijuana from being commercially sold in the district. So that means you can’t just walk into a store and buy marijuana products, like you can in Colorado, Oregon and other places. It also can’t be smoked out in public.

‘Ganjapreneurs’

So D.C. potheads and so-called “ganjapreneurs” have had to be crafty in order to come up with alternate ways to distribute and acquire marijuana. Not “buy” and “sell,” mind you. That’s against the law.

Field research

So I did a little research on the way to the district to see how a tourist would get a hold of marijuana in Washington. How do you buy weed if it’s not legal to sell it?

Washington Post photo by Michael S. Williamson

“Puff, pass and paint”

I found you can go to a dance or arts-and-crafts parties where smokables and edibles are sold by vendors. The Washington Post likens these events to marijuana farmer’s markets. There are also other events, like “Puff, Pass and Paint” parties, where folks paint and blaze. You have to bring your own weed, though.

Washington Post photo by Sarah L. Voisin

For medicinal purposes too

D.C. also has relatively loose medical marijuana regulations, meaning that doctors can very easily prescribe it for just about any ailment or condition. So more people can take advantage of it.

Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken

But among the most popular ways to get weed is to acquire it when you buy other items, such as artwork, juice or apparel. Just buy the item, and they’ll throw in a couple of buds or edibles as a “thank you” or “bonus” for purchasing their product. Remember, gifting weed to someone above the age of 21 is perfectly legal in D.C.

A little pricey

But some of the stuff I saw for purchase online was expensive. The site District of C sells artwork and jewelry (with pot thrown in) for between $60 and $95. Another site called Red Eye offers six freshly baked chocolate chip cookies that contain no cannabis but offers a free gift on the side.

Tom Wrobleski | [email protected]

One of the best websites I found was called Pink Fox. They had an array of apparel you could buy, much of it in the $25 to $35 range. And they had a really good FAQ that answered a lot of my questions about the ins and outs of making the deal.

The Washington Post photo by Evelyn Hockstein

Making the connection

I sent an email and got a call from a guy named Mark (not pictured) shortly afterward. He told me that the delivery fee for anything was $100, which was out of my range. When I asked about coming by their store, he told me that Pink Fox doesn’t have storefronts. He said the service uses one of three Metro stations in town to meet customers: L’Enfant Plaza, Waterfront station and Federal Center SW.

Here’s the deal

Mark told me that the price for items was anywhere from $15 to $500, depending on how much weed would be included as a gift. He said I could get a drawstring backpack with some edibles in it for $20. I opted for the edibles because I couldn’t smoke in the hotel and didn’t feel comfortable slinking out alone to smoke a joint in an unfamiliar city. We agreed to arrange a meet-up the next day.

How I bought legal weed in Washington, D.C. (commentary) Advance collage How I bought legal weed in Washington, D.C. Tom Wrobleski | [email protected] Shouldn’t be