Updated: Aug 17
Are there marijuana dispensaries in Washington DC? Well, the answer to this question isn’t straightforward. The District of Columbia has had a long and complicated relationship with cannabis. In 1998, 69% of voters approved Initiative 59 to legalize medical marijuana, but Congress blocked its implementation until 2009. Then, in 2014, DC voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 71 to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use.
However, Congress once again intervened, passing a rider on a spending bill that bars DC from using any of its own funds to "enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize…" marijuana. This has effectively prevented DC from setting up a system to tax and regulate cannabis like other states that have legalized it.
Because of this, getting weed in DC is a bit different than in other legal states. There are no retail dispensaries where you can purchase cannabis, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to find.
Marijuana Dispensaries In Washington, DC
A dispensary is a medical facility where people with certain medical conditions can go to get medical marijuana. In Washington, DC, there are many different dispensaries that sell marijuana. In the sections below, we will discuss how these dispensaries work.
How Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in DC Work
In Washington D.C., medical marijuana can be obtained through dispensaries. These dispensaries are usually licensed and can sell weed once a month only to medical marijuana patients. Unlike in cities like Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington DC dispensaries do not sell marijuana for recreational use. They usually require buyers to carry a medical card, which is typically issued after an examination.
If you need medical marijuana in Washington D.C., here are the steps you will have to follow:
Step 1: Schedule an appointment with a licensed medical marijuana doctor in DC.
Step 2: Bring your driver's license or other government-issued ID to the appointment.
Step 3: Tell the doctor about your qualifying condition and why you think medical marijuana will help alleviate your symptoms.
Step 4: If the doctor approves, they will enter your information into the District's online database and give you a patient ID number.
Step 5: With your patient's ID number, you can register with the department of health and then visit a dispensary to purchase medical marijuana. A medical marijuana card costs $100, and the process usually takes around 30 days.
Qualifying Conditions For A Medical Marijuana Card In DC
To be eligible for a medical marijuana card in Washington, DC, you must have one of the following qualifying conditions:
Can You Get Weed In DC Without A Medical Marijuana Card?
So here's the good news: there is an alternative for people looking for a recreational "dispensary" in Washington DC. Through Initiative 71, adults over the age of 21 can have legal access to weed through Initiative 71 Shops that offer free recreational weed gifts in exchange for purchase without the need of a medical card.
What is Initiative 71?
Initiative 71 was a voter-approved ballot initiative in Washington, DC, that decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. The initiative passed with 65% of the vote in November 2014 and was fully passed into law in February 2015. It governs the Washington DC area, and it allows adults to share, grow, and possess marijuana without a medical card.
However, there are certain restrictions on Initiative 71 that you must adhere to. They are listed below:
You can only carry two ounces or less of marijuana at any one time. This must be for your own usage and not for resale.
You can only use marijuana on private property. State and federal government-operated spaces, as well as public places, are strictly out of bounds.
You can grow marijuana in your private residence. However, you can only have up to six marijuana plants at once.
You can not sell marijuana. However, you can share up to one ounce of the substance with an adult above the age of 21.
Find the Best Marijuana-Gifting Dispensaries in DC
So is weed really legal in DC, then? Since the introduction of Initiative 71, multiple gifting shops have found a loophole in the system - they can now gift weed to others, as long as there's no transaction of money involved. Such businesses are known as Initiative 71- compliant gift shops.
These marijuana-gifting service gifting services operate as stores that sell staple items like art pieces. Your purchase will then include a 'free' gift of marijuana. This service is entirely legal and Initiative-71-compliant. It also does NOT require you to be a DC resident or possess a medical marijuana card.
Where to Buy/Get Weed in DC
If you're looking to "BUY" weed, you'll need to visit a medical marijuana dispensary. However, if you want to get weed in DC today for free, all you need to do is visit an Initiative 71 Shop like Top Level. Top Level is one of the best rated Black-Owned Marijuana-Gifting Dispensaries in DC.
With over 890+ reviews, check out some of their latest verified Google reviews:
"Could not have chosen a better place to go. I’ve always had a medical card so this was my first time at an Initiative 71 gallery and I’ll definitely plan to be a regular. The energy of the shop is so inviting and has an excellent range of “artwork” to choose from. Will was amazing and gave me all the info I needed to know we chose the right place! It is clean, friendly and while he may have thought I was joking, the atmosphere they created made me wish they had a space to just hang out and have some coffee!" – Lauren Fields (★ 5/5)
"This is my favorite dispensary in DC. It's a little out of the way if you don't have a car (maybe 20 min walk from Red Line) but well worth the trip. I'm not someone who has an encyclopedic knowledge of what I do or do not want when it comes to dispensaries so I always feel a little intimidated seeking one out. That said, this anxiety has never been an issue when it comes to Top Level. They are very professional, friendly, and helpful in every single way. Be it making a recommendation that will get me more for less money, helping me figure out what I want to buy, or just generally chatting with me, I always feel great about my choice to visit Top Level. Products are also high quality, too. As if that's not enough, it is also next to an awesome Mexican spot. For sure hit it up, it's worth it." – Em Fiske (★ 5/5)
How to Order Weed from Top Level:
Getting free weed gifts from Top Level is convenient & stress-free. PLUS with every purchase, you help support a local artist in the DMV community. Top Level offers in-stores shopping and free in-store pick up. (Ready in 30 mins or less). From edibles, flower, pre-rolls, concentrates, or even crumble – Top Level only carries premium weed and strives to give you the best cannabis experience.
To receive these free weed gifts from Top Level, all you need to do is:
Select your free weed gift of choice
Purchase your desired art print
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.
Top 4 "Gifting" Service in Washington DC You Can Visit:
Here is a shortlist of some of the best marijuana gifting services in DC named by City Paper.