DC Medical Marijuana VS Recreational Weed 2023

dc medical marijuana vs recreational weed

Now more than ever, people are turning towards cannabis for both health and recreational purposes. Weed is a great alternative medicine that has gained popularity due to its medicinal properties. Alternatively, grabbing recreational cannabis after a long workday is a great way to enjoy marijuana recreationally.

Obtaining cannabis in DC, whether for medical or recreational, can be confusing. Both are relatively simple choices as long as you understand the rules. Many people wonder, “How to Buy Weed in DC?”

In this simple guide, we will discuss the difference between medical and recreational marijuana, the legalization process for both, and how to choose the best dispensary for your needs!

Can You Buy Weed in Washington, DC?

Short answer yes, you can legally purchase weed in Washington DC.

When you hear that weed is legal in DC, you might picture a Colorado or LA-style environment. However, Washington, DC, has different laws, which can be tricky, but once you understand the regulations, it gets much simpler. 

Technically speaking, to purchase medical marijuana, you must obtain a Medical Marijuana Card. You can only buy medical marijuana with a medical card from a trusted medical dispensary.

However, if you want to take another route, DC offers recreational marijuana. To qualify for recreational marijuana, you must be at least 21 years or older. Recreational dispensaries don’t require a medical card; you can still get some weed.

Let’s review how people can get weed in DC and stay within the laws. 

Weed Laws in DC

marijuana laws in dc

Weed is legal for medical and recreational adult use in DC. With the passing of the legalization bill, there are some laws involved. If you live in DC or you are traveling through, it is essential to understand the rules.

Let’s discuss DC cannabis laws.

Initiative 71 

Initiative 71 is not the first bill to address marijuana use in a positive light in Washington, DC. I-71, or Initiative 71, was a bill that was passed in favor of legalizing cannabis use.

Initiative 59, passed in 1998, stated that people with fatal or otherwise serious health complications could use marijuana with a doctor’s approval.

The Medical Treatment Amendment Act of Washington, DC, was passed in 2010. This act enabled cannabis to be prescribed medically to people suffering from medical conditions.

In 2014, Washington, DC, passed Initiative I-71, which “legalized” recreational marijuana. These Acts increased the number of medical dispensaries and recreational gift shops in DC.

A person who is 21 or older in Washington, DC, can:

Although you may own your car as private property, it’s against the law to smoke weed in your vehicle, even if the keys are out of the ignition. You can risk getting a DWI with criminal punishments and fines equivalent to an alcohol-use DUI.

Smoking in public is still very much against the law, especially on federal grounds. A fourth of Washington DC grounds are federal, so be careful there. You don’t want to smoke weed in national parks, military, and government buildings. It is a federal offense if you get caught smoking in national landmarks. Unfortunately, public housing falls under the federal land category, too. 

You can grow weed, have weed, or give weed for recreational use. That’s still a pretty cool law. 

Yet, Initiative 71 doesn’t mention anything about you buying or selling marijuana. Fortunately, the residents in DC discovered a loophole in the law. You can give up to an ounce to another person, which is where the “cannabis gifts” come into play. You can purchase a digital art print or some other item and get a weed gift for the same amount. 

So, when you go to Washington DC or if you are a local, you know that you can get weed legally here, but you are receiving it as a gift. You cannot purchase pot unless you have a medical card and use the medical dispensaries.

Here is an essential list of fines or penalties you may face if you break any DC marijuana laws.

  • If caught selling weed, you can face a $1,000 fine or up to six months in jail with a first-offense charge.

  • If you get arrested for smoking weed in any DC public area, you can face a $500 fine or up to six days in jail. 

  • If you are under 21 with any amount of marijuana, it will be confiscated. If you are over 2 ounces, you will be arrested.

How to Get Weed in DC

how to get weed in washington dc

As you can see, there are ways to get weed in Washington, DC. First, you must understand the rules. With a medical card, you may purchase weed at any dispensary. Recreationally, you can receive weed from I-71-compliant stores or delivery services. Be careful of stores or delivery services offering to sell weed, as they may be a scam because that’s not how it goes around here. You are getting weed as a gift only or with an MMJ card. 

Medical Marijuana 

While you can get gifts of marijuana recreationally, there are some advantages to having an MMJ card. An MMJ card is the medical marijuana card the District of Columbia gives patients who qualify for the medical cannabis program. With this card, you can legally use, purchase, and possess weed to help manage various health conditions. 

In the summer of 2022, the DC Council passed an emergency “self-certification” legislation. This legislation allows patients to apply without any doctor’s recommendation. It’s an emergency legislation, though, and for those who decide to go the healthcare provider route, or if you are under 21, you will need to reach out to any of the following:

  • Physician

  • Dentist 

  • Nurse practitioner

  • Physician Assistant

  • Homeopathic physician

Any healthcare provider can approve you, and you will receive a recommendation number. Next, you apply to the Department of Health. When you send in your application, you will also need the following:

  • Your Social Security Number 

  • A Federal or DC state ID with a headshot photo

  • Two types of residency proof statements with your address

You can send an electronic or paper application with a $100 application fee. Some people may qualify for a reduced price of $25 based on their income.

The cool part is that while you wait for your application to be processed, you will receive a temporary digital registration that you can take to any of the licensed cannabis dispensaries in Washington, DC, and use to purchase medical weed immediately. After that period, if your application is approved, you’ll get an MMJ card in the mail along with an active digital registration.

With an MMJ card, you can buy marijuana flowers, concentrates, seeds, edibles, and other products available at the dispensaries. In addition, MMJ card patients can buy up to 8 ounces of marijuana in 30 days to have more than the recreational limit of 2 ounces. Another benefit to having an MMJ card is that it protects you from being bothered by law enforcement.

Recreational Weed 

Now that you know how to get cannabis products through the medical route, let’s dive into the recreational weed gifting service in DC. The most important thing to know about recreational cannabis is that there is no “buying” it. So, when you enter one of these storefronts, you must ask about their gifts. Also, you must be 21 or older and have your ID ready, especially if this is your first time in the store.

Now in Washington, DC, you have two options for recreational gifts. First, you can order delivery to bring the weed to you or a nearby location. The second choice is the storefronts where you purchase art or t-shirts, or some other type of item, and choose your weed gift that matches the price of the thing you want to buy. 

One of the most incredible things about choosing to get a gift in a store is that you have all of their selections right in front of you to choose from. Getting to see the weed, the consistency of the bud, the colors of the hairs, and more up close and personal usually helps when selecting which to try first. 

Next, delivery is the other popular way to go if you want the weed brought directly to you. You will order your item and gift over the phone or online, and your weed present and item will then be brought right to your door.

Where to Get Weed in DC 

where to get weed in dc

The good news is that there are many ways to get weed in DC — from medical and recreational dispensaries to delivery services or pick-up. There’s a bud to be found if you know where to look. You want to be careful when searching the stores for recreational weed because some of these smoke shops are not I-71-compliant.

If you’re a cannabis connoisseur, some of these places offer dab rigs and vapes, so you can genuinely enjoy the terpenes of many tasty strains you can find here. Let’s look at some of the recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries in DC.

Capital City Care

Capital City Care is the most prominent DC dispensary. Capital City Care is located at 1115 U St. NW in Washington, DC. The budtenders are super knowledgeable. They offer organic medical marijuana and have a wide selection of premium strains. In addition, they carry a large selection of flowers, edibles, carts, pre-rolls, and more. Capital City Care has consistent quality as one of the only authorized growers in DC. You can usually find some premium daytime sativa strains at Capitol City Care. 

Takoma Wellness Center 

Takoma Wellness Center was the first weed dispensary in Washington, DC that opened in 2013. They are located at 6925 Blair Road NW, Washington, DC. They carry CBD, flowers, pre-rolls, tinctures, topicals, and more. They also sell various weed accessories, like glass pipes and water bongs. They also offer same-day delivery service within a 6-mile radius. 

Anacostia Organics 

Anacostia Organics is open seven days a week. They are a women-operated local business located in the Historic Anacostia. They have a wide array of selections of flowers, concentrates, edibles, and topicals. They also have a selection of local, quality cannabis strains from DC. Additionally, they offer a home delivery service to the wards. You can try one of their top-quality indica strains if you need extra help to wind down in the evenings.

Gifted Curators

A local I-71-compliant shop that carries a premium, high-quality cannabis strains for gifting purposes is Gifted Curators. They were one of the very first storefronts to become I-71 compliant. As a result, many people agree that they are one of the most trusted stores in DC. Gifted Curators has thousands of 5-star reviews, and for a good reason. Located in Adams Morgan, they offer a wide array of top-notch strains to choose from, and they are all bangers. They also have gummies and chocolate bars if you enjoy edibles.

Legacy DC

Legacy DC is an art gallery located in the heart of U Street. They have local street art and cannabis and CBD choices for gifts with your art. They offer pre-rolls, edibles, flowers, and more. They have a collection of vinyl records and books for sale, too. 

Purple Penthouse 

Purple Penthouse is a weed delivery service that is increasingly becoming a popular choice for delivery. They have a top-notch selection of popular THC strains, moon rocks, edibles, pre-rolls, drinks, and more. In addition, they have a large online menu serving the DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas. They are also I-81 compliant, which means that they can carry mushrooms.