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Is Weed Legal in Washington DC? Facts on DC Marijuana Laws

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

is weed legal in washington dc

In November 2014, Initiative 71, also known as the 'Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014,' was introduced in Washington, D.C., seeking to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. 6 years down the line, a lot of people still ask the question, "Is weed legal in DC?"

The simple answer is YES! Although there's a lot more details behind the law than that. There are still some grey areas you might want to look out for. This guide was curated to help you pin-point these grey areas. So don't stop! Continue reading because you don't get caught up in a tangle of legal red tape in the Nation's capital.

Washington DC Recreational Marijuana Laws

One of the first significant issues about DC Marijuana laws is that while it's legal to have marijuana, it's NOT legal to buy it anywhere on the streets.

You might then ask how to get marijuana in Washington DC, when no one can legally sell it to you?


The DC weed laws, however, found a way to work around this issue. Adults over the age of 21 are allowed to gift each other up to one(1) ounce of marijuana. You can also visit Initiative 71 shops that offer" free marijuana as a gift" with the purchase of other goods like art prints.

So it's important to note that while both recreational and medical marijuana are legal in Washington DC, the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes remains prohibited as well as smoking in public places.

What is Initiative 71?

What is so special about Initiative 71? Thanks to this fantastic law, the decriminalization of marijuana was passed by the legislature in 2014. Among other perks, Initiative 71 reduced the penalty for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to $25. How dope is that?

Thanks to Initiative 71, it is legal for adults 21 years of age or older to:

  • Possess two ounces or less of marijuana

  • Grow within their primary residence up to six marijuana plants, no more than three of which are mature

  • Transfer one ounce or less of marijuana to another person as long as: (1) no money, goods, or services are exchanged; and (2) the recipient is 21 years of age or older

  • Consume marijuana on private property

dc weed laws

How to Get Free Recreational Weed Gifts in Washington DC:

Visit Top Level DC

Unlike recreational dispensaries in California or Las Vegas, Washington DC does not have your traditional dispensaries. If you're looking to get weed in DC, your easiest and best option would be visiting an Initiative 71 store. You do NOT need a medical card to get weed from these types of shops. These i71 Shops offer DC residents and tourists free recreational weed gifts like edibles, flower, concentrates & more. Top Level currently offers in-store shopping or you can skip the line when you preorder online.

To receive these free weed gifts from Top Level, all you need to do is:

  1. Browse the online menu

  2. Select your free weed gift of choice

  3. Purchase your desired art print

  4. All art prints are created by local artists in the DC area.

Before Visiting Top Level DC: Please bring your 21+ State Issued ID and pay in cash to redeem your free gift. Check out our menu here or get directions to our store today. Have questions about our i71 gifting process? Call (202) 740-6670 or Whatsapp us today to speak to one of our high-quality team members today.

Rated DC's Top 4 Best Gifting "Service" Shop: Top Level DC

Top Level DC is an Initiative 71 Shop located in Tenleytown, Washington DC. We specialize in providing premium weed gifts like edibles, concentrates, flower, crumble & more. In accordance with Washington DC gifting laws, the store offers I71 compliant gifts for any goods purchased. We also offer high-quality CBD products for both DC residents and tourists.

With over 890+ verified Google reviews, check out some of the latest from our customers:

"My first time coming to Washington D.C. and I found this place on Google. Got there and met Will who was awesome, explained everything to me and made it a great experience. Will definitely return" – Marley Bae (★ 5/5)
"On a recent trip to DC I visited several dispensaries and Top Level was the last shop I went in. It was by far the best. Everyone working was helpful, nice, knowledgeable, and they didn’t look down on me for not having a clue as to what I was doing. I will definitely be visiting Top Level again very soon. 5 Stars All the way around." – Jonathan Long (★ 5/5)
Top Level DC

Washington DC Medical Marijuana Laws

Medical marijuana was first legalized in Washington, D.C., in 1998 after voters approved the "Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998." Despite its passing, the program's implementation was delayed as a result of the swiftly passed Barr Amendment proposed by Georgia Congressman Bob Barr (R). The amendment tacked on to the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations. This prohibited D.C. from using funds to support a medical cannabis program. The amendment was eventually overturned in 2009, finally opening the door for legal, medical cannabis purchases little by little.

In 2013, the first medical marijuana sale finally occurred in D.C. Presently, Patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and other qualifying conditions can seek doctor approval to gain access to medicinal marijuana products, Under D.C.'s medicinal marijuana program, patients can legally buy up to four ounces of marijuana every month.

These individuals simply have to show their state-issued medical marijuana card to access any of the city's dispensaries to purchase marijuana.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington DC

Getting a medical marijuana card in D.C. is very simple.

The first step in getting a card is to consult with a health professional like a physician, a physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, or dentist. These health professionals can issue recommendations to D.C. residents that will enable them to legally purchase medical marijuana from dispensaries in the District.

Second, you will be issued a recommendation number as part of the recommendation process.

With that in hand, submit a patient application to the Department of Health. The application usually consists of a headshot, photo I.D., and two forms of proof that you're a D.C. resident. You will also be required to pay a $100 application fee, though low-income patients may qualify for a reduced fee of $25.

So Is Weed Legal in DC?

Long story, short – Yes. Despite all the loopholes surrounding the marijuana laws, People can still be arrested for crimes related to marijuana. It's one of the reasons people are still asking, "Is marijuana legal in D.C.?"

Remember: Possession of two (2) ounces of weed is considered legal, but you can still be arrested if you have more than that or get caught selling marijuana.

Also: Washington DC allows you to consume marijuana on private property, i.e., in the comfort of your home. Public consumption of weed is considered illegal and a criminal act. Possession of marijuana on federal land is also prohibited as marijuana is deemed to be illegal at the national level. As such, federal authorities in D.C. can still arrest people for possession of any amount or use on federal lands.

top level dc dispensary

Common Questions on Washington DC Weed:

Is weed legal in Washington DC?

Yes! Both recreational and medical weed are legal in Washington, DC. However, the purchase of marijuana for recreational purposes is not allowed. There are other types of marijuana "dispensaries" in DC that offer recreational weed for free.

Can I Get Recreational Weed from Top Level DC?

Totally – all you need is a 21+ state-issued ID + cash payment to get free i71 gifts from Top Level. We'll gift you your choice of marijuana gift with an art purchase from our gallery. Each purchase helps support local artists in the DMV area.

Is it legal to smoke weed in Washington DC?

In Washington, DC, you can only smoke marijuana on private property. Public consumption of weed is considered an illegal and criminal act.

Is CBD legal in Washington DC?

Yes, it absolutely is! Although there is still talk surrounding the legalization of hemp.

However, this does not change the fact that CBD products are considered legal at the federal level as long as they're derived from hemp plants.

Can You Smoke Marijuana in Public in Washington DC?

You need to take note of the fact that public consumption of marijuana in D.C. may result in a misdemeanor conviction of up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Due to the fact that some portion of lands in Washington, DC are federal land, penalties tend to vary. Often in practice, public consumption will result in a $25 fine. Offenders may choose to go to court alternatively in line with the mayor's office's 2018 policy recommendations.

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