Washington DC Marijuana Laws

Current Legality State
Fully Legal
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Washington DC Information Page

  • Recreational use of cannabis and medical marijuana is legal
  • Decriminalized possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for adult use
  • Home cultivation of up to six cannabis plants by adults is allowed on private property
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Medical marijuana was legalized in Washington DC in 1998, while the new law for recreational marijuana was updated in 2015 so that residents could legally possess and use minimal amounts of weed. Recreational cannabis sales, however, are still illegal.

State Laws and Offenses

Here’s a list of penalties for Washington DC possession, sale, and distribution of marijuana, concentrate, or paraphernalia.

  • Under federal law and the Controlled Substances Act, the marijuana prohibition is still in place, and marijuana is the category of Schedule I Controlled Substances according to the federal government.
  • Adults 21 years of age or older may possess up to two ounces of marijuana and cultivate no more than six plants (with three or fewer mature at any one time) in their primary residence without penalty. Marijuana possession of more than two ounces of marijuana could result in criminal penalties.
  • A transfer without payment of up to one ounce of marijuana to another person 21 years of age or older is also permitted.
  • Public use of marijuana is a misdemeanor but will generally be handled through a cite and release procedure. Adults 21 and older may cultivate up to six marijuana plants (no more than three mature at any one time) in their primary residence without a criminal offense.
  • Not-for-profit transactions involving small amounts of the substance are also permitted.
  • Hashish is a Schedule II drug according to Washington D.C. state law.
  • Drug paraphernalia possession or sale, for any person 21 years of age or older, is permitted for the use, growing, or processing of marijuana or cannabis. Due to laws that reduce penalties, Any person in violation of possession laws shall be imprisoned for not more than 30 days or fined for not more than 100 USD, or both.

Washington DC allows patients with the following conditions to apply for a medical cannabis card:

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) 
  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) 
  • Glaucoma 
  • Conditions characterized by severe and persistent muscle spasms, such as multiple sclerosis 
  • Cancer Qualifying medical treatments: Chemotherapy; Use of azidothymidine or protease inhibitors; Radiotherapy
  • Pain relief for any other medical condition with a physician’s recommendation


Book An Appointment

You will schedule an appointment to see a medical marijuana doctor in Washington DC at a time that is most convenient for you. Provide basic medical history and book your appointment with a licensed medical marijuana doctor.



Consult with a doctor for a quick evaluation of your ailments, and ask any questions you may have about medical marijuana treatment.



Within 24 hours after the evaluation, the doctor will send your certificate via email for your recommendation for medical marijuana. After receiving that recommendation, you can then apply with the state of Washington DC to complete the registration process.


Complete Registration

Use your Patient ID Number to complete your online registration with the state

Does Washington DC accept out-of-state medical cards?

As of August 2019, patients from any state with a medical marijuana program may use their cards at licensed dispensaries.

When does my Washington DC medical card expire?

Medical cards expire one year from the date the patient completes the registration process with the state.

Washington DC marijuana DUI laws

Here are the penalties in Washington DC for marijuana use while operating a motor vehicle: 

  • First offense – fine of 300 USD; possible imprisonment for not more than 90 days.
  • Second offense – fine of not less than 1,000 USD and not more than 5,000 USD; imprisonment for not more than one year and not less than a mandatory minimum of 5 days; the court may impose a sentence of at least thirty days of community service; one-year license suspension.
  • Third and subsequent offense – fine of not less than 2,000 USD and not more than 10,000 USD; imprisonment for not more than one year, but not less than a mandatory minimum of ten days; offender may be required to perform at least 60 days of community service; two-year license suspension

Washington DC marijuana growing laws

Adults 21 and older are allowed to grow cannabis within their primary residence for recreational purposes. Up to six marijuana plants are legal, no more than three of which are mature.

Washington DC public consumption laws

In Washington DC, it is illegal to smoke or consume marijuana in public spaces (parks, streets, alleys, sidewalks) or anywhere to which the public is invited, including restaurants and bars.

You are not allowed to possess marijuana on federal land (which includes Rock Creek Park, the National Mall, and the area around federal buildings) or on the Metro system. Marijuana is also prohibited in public housing.

Washington DC city specific laws

The laws listed here are for the state. Cities, counties, schools, universities, and employers may set their own rules and consequences. Be sure to check how marijuana laws differ in each county or town before you use.

Sixty-eight percent of District voters approved marijuana legalization for adults. 

According to DC laws, the legal vaping age is 21. Recreational vapes are not sold in DC, however, Some Weed Delivery services deliver quality weeds, vapes, or e-cigarette products to residents. Due to the medical treatment initiative, you can buy cartridges at medical marijuana dispensaries with a medical card.

Yes, but only at medical marijuana dispensaries where the city is regulating cannabis sales. Recreational marijuana is still not legal to buy or sell in Washington DC.

Yes. Adult residents are allowed to grow up to six plants at home. Three of those must be immature marijuana plants.

Requirements are as follows: 

Be 18 years of age or older

You must be able to provide proof of your IL residency

You must have a diagnosis that qualifies in Illinois and a doctor’s prescription.

You must submit a signed Physician Certification with your MMP application – and that is where Leafy Doc can help.  We can assist with booking your appointment and then provide the Physician Certification so that you can apply to get your medical card. Once you have the card, you may visit licensed medical marijuana dispensaries and even grow medical cannabis.

Patient Application:

Complete signed application

Complete signed caregiver application if applicable

Photo Identification:

Two recent passport photos

Clear photocopy of a U.S., state, or District government-issued photo ID issued to the applicant

Physician Recommendation:

The pink copy of the complete Physician Recommendation Form.

(White copy of complete Physician Recommendation Form to be sent to the Department of Health by patient’s physician)

Application Fee:

Certified check, money order, or cashier’s check payable to DC Treasurer; no personal checks

$100 for the regular registration fee

$25 for a reduced fee if applicable

As of 2022, there are approximately seven medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.  Dispensaries to sell marijuana for recreational use are still currently banned.

Cannabis Policy Reform Timeline

1998: DC residents voted in favor of medical marijuana via Initiative 59 even though it is still banned on a federal level. Georgia Congressman Bob Barr (R) blocked DC from implementing the program via the Barr Amendment.

2009: Congress overturned the above ban with backlash from Congressional Republicans.

2010: DC Council members approved the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act. This law clarified the provisions of the 1998 legislation and established regulations for dispensaries and set possession limits at two ounces for medical cannabis patients.

2013: The first medical dispensary opened for business.

2014: The Medical Marijuana Expansion Emergency Amendment Act expanded eligibility for a medical card to encompass any qualifying condition that a physician believes could be alleviated by medical marijuana.

2015: Initiative 71—the recreational marijuana ballot initiative—was enacted, permitting patients to cultivate up to six plants for personal use, three of which may be mature.

2017: The Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Amendment Act of 2015 took effect, allowing patients from other jurisdictions with medical marijuana programs to use their medical cards at DC dispensaries.

2019: DC began accepting medical marijuana cards from any other state.

2022: Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the “Medical Marijuana Patient Access Extension Emergency Amendment Act of 2022” into law. The emergency legislation increases access to the District’s medical cannabis program.

The legislation will:

  • Allow senior citizens over age 65 to self-certify their own eligibility for medical cannabis without having to get a recommendation from a doctor until September 30, 2022.
  • Allow patients whose registrations expired on or after March 1, 2020, to purchase medical cannabis until September 30, 2022.
  • Create a “4/20 Medical Cannabis Sales Tax Holiday Week.” From April 15 through April 24, 2022, patients will not have to pay the six percent sales tax on medical cannabis.

Updated 6.14.2022