Is Weed Legal in Washington DC?

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The way people view weed is starting to change as the legalization of the herb becomes more widespread. More and more people are starting to openly discuss cannabis and its usage.

One of the biggest challenges that persist within the marijuana community is that legalization of weed doesn’t always mean it’s 100% legal. Depending on where you are, the laws surrounding weed can be somewhat vague and difficult to understand.

Washington, DC, is one of the places in the U.S. with some of the most difficult-to-understand cannabis laws. If you live here and want to consume weed, it’s best to educate yourself on these laws to ensure you’ll always be safe. Here’s what you need to know.

(Note: Cannabis, marijuana, and weed will be used interchangeably to refer to the same thing)

Is Weed Legal in Washington DC?

In short: Yes, it’s legal, but there are certain limitations.

At the federal level in the United States, cannabis is illegal—this remains true as of January 2023. However, Washington, DC, has cannabis laws that decriminalize cannabis for those who are 21 and older.

As you’ll see below, you can use it, grow it, and keep it. But you can’t buy or sell it unless through a dispensary.

The cannabis industry in Washington DC is booming, and with the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in 2023, many are looking to take advantage of the rapidly growing market. In this expert report on Washington DC medical and recreational cannabis laws, we will look at current penalties, home cultivation laws, job opportunities, salaries and career outlooks for those wishing to enter the field.

Cannabis Penalties in DC

In Washington DC, there are still certain restrictions put in place for cannabis use and possession. Those who are caught with a personal amount of 28 grams or less (1 ounce) without an authorization card may be subject to a fine of up to $25 or required to take a drug education course. The maximum penalty for possessing more than 28 grams is 6 months in jail and/or a fine not exceeding $500. Possession with intent to sell is punished much more severely; fines range from $500-$5,000 depending on the quantity or merchandise involved.

Home Cultivation Laws Washington DC

Washington DC has been relatively liberal when it comes to home cultivation. Adults 21 years of age or older can cultivate up to six mature marijuana plants per household as long as they are secured away from public view. All plants must have tags attached indicating they were legally obtained and grown in compliance with state law; otherwise they may be seized by law enforcement officials. The possession limits apply even if marijuana is grown at home; any amount over 28 grams must be stored securely away from public view.

Cannabis Jobs & Salaries in Washington DC

Since the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2023, many new jobs have become available within the cannabis industry in Washington DC ranging from dispensary workers and bud tenders to growers, trimmers and laboratory technicians. Salaries vary greatly depending on experience but generally start around $20/hour for entry-level positions such as trimming or bud tending rising up to $75/hour for experienced trimmers or growers (or even higher for head cultivators). For people interested in management roles such as dispensary directors or professionals working with lab tests, salaries can reach well into the six figures depending on experience level and position held.

Dispensaries & Career Outlook in Washington DC

Currently there are only nine dispensaries licensed within Washington DC that can legally sell both medical and recreational marijuana products; however it’s expected that number will grow significantly over time as more regulations come into effect regarding licensing requirements etc.. The career outlook within this sector is extremely promising as more states continue to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis use nationwide – especially now that it’s federally legal across all fifty states – meaning more jobs will become available along with higher pay scales over time as competition grows due to market saturation etc..

Overall Washington DC has been quite progressive when it comes to legalizing both medical and recreational cannabis use making it one of the most desirable locations when it comes to entering into this new exciting industry – especially since there are no residency requirements either so anyone who meets their qualifications can apply regardless of where you reside! With an abundance of potential job opportunities available coupled with salary ranges that routinely range above national averages it’s easy to see why so many people are becoming eager about entering into this field!

What You Can Do in DC As Fas as Cannabis

In Washington, DC, if you’re 21 or older, you may:

  • Use cannabis for medical or recreational purposes.
  • Possess up to 2 oz of cannabis on your person.
  • Grow up to six marijuana plants, with a maximum of three mature marijuana plants at one time.
  • Give up to one ounce to another appropriately aged individual as a gift without receiving compensation in any form.
  • Use weed as long as it’s within private property and you have permission from the owner. Try some of the top recommended weed pipes if you want to smoke without having a constantly burning joint or blunt.
  • Possess cannabis consumption tools or supplies, such as pipes or rolling papers.

What You Can’t Do in D.C with Weed

If you’re using cannabis in Washington, DC, these are the things to ensure you stay away from:

  • Sell cannabis to anyone.
  • Possess more than two ounces of cannabis at any time.
  • Consume cannabis in public. 
  • Operate a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis.
  • Grow more than six marijuana plants, or have more than three mature marijuana plants.

So, How Do You Get Cannabis in Washington DC?

Cannassentials has a great list that covers where to get weed in Washington, DC. But you’re probably wondering how you’re able to get weed—or how weed stores exist in D.C.—when it’s illegal to buy or sell.

Well, although the direct sale may be a criminal offense, gifting is not. D.C.’s Initiative 71 creates a loophole that allows you to legally gift marijuana alongside the sale of another item. For example, you might buy a sticker or other small item at an unusually inflated price and receive weed as a gift along with your purchase.

Cannabis Possession Limits and Usage

The two-ounce limit is one of the key factors to ensuring you never get into legal trouble concerning marijuana. If you have more than 2 oz and get searched by a police officer, you can be arrested and charged with a criminal offense. However, if you have less than that, the weed will be seized, but you won't be arrested.

When it comes to consumption, just about all consumption methods and forms of weed are legal. The only caveat is that it must be used on private property. So, you can have cannabis in the form of flowers or concentrates (dab, rosin, oil, etc.) and consume it accordingly within your own home. You can also grow any marijuana strain within legal limits, as discussed earlier.

Medical Marijuana In Washington, D.C.

According to the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Act of 2010, residents of D.C. may be prescribed, purchase, use, and possess cannabis to treat a diagnosed medical condition or any related side effect. This act includes minors. 

Individuals must apply for a medical marijuana card if they wish to use and purchase medical marijuana. If your doctor believes marijuana can help your condition, they can prescribe it for you, according to the Medical Marijuana Expansion Emergency Amendment Act of 2014.

As of 2017, according to the Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Amendment Act of 2015, medical marijuana patients from other areas can use their medical marijuana cards at dispensaries within Washington, DC. This is applicable provided that the origin district has an equivalent medical marijuana program to that of D.C.

Conclusion on is Weed Legal in Washington DC?

Weed is legal in Washington, DC, but there are legal limits. In summary, it’s legal to possess up to two ounces and share up to one ounce at a time. It’s illegal to buy and sell, except for where medical marijuana is concerned. 

But ‘gifting shops’ use a loophole to gift weed alongside a purchase of something else. Finally, if you want, you can cultivate marijuana at home, if you stay within legal limits.

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