In November 2014, District voters approved
The Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Initiative (commonly known as Initiative 71). The new D.C. marijuana law became effective in February 2015. The District joined Alaska, Colorado and Washington state in making the drug legal.
It is legal for a person who is at least 21 years old to:
Possess two (2) ounces or less of marijuana;
Transfer one (1) ounce or less of marijuana to another person who is at least 21 years old, so long as there is no payment made or any other type of exchange of goods or services;
Cultivate within their residence up to six (6) marijuana plants, no more than three (3) of which are mature;
Possess marijuana-related drug paraphernalia – such as bongs, cigarette rolling papers, and cigar wrappers – that is associated with one ounce or less of marijuana; or
Use marijuana on private property.
What is Still Illegal Under the New Law?
The penalty for an individual arrested for smoking or consuming marijuana in public can be up to 60 days in jail or a $500 fine. Restaurant and business owners that allow patrons to use marijuana could lose their business license and certificate of occupancy. The penalty for possession of more than two (2) ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense and can lead to up to six (6) months in jail and/ or a $1,000 fine.
Basically, a person can still be arrested for:
Selling any amount of marijuana to another person;
Possessing more than two (2) ounces of marijuana;
Operating a vehicle or boat under the influence of marijuana ; or
Smoking, eating, or drinking marijuana – or holding or carrying a lighted roll of paper or other lighted smoking equipment filled with marijuana – in any public space, such as on any street, sidewalk, alley, park, or parking area;
In a vehicle on any street, alley, park, or parking area; or any place to which the public is invited.
||48-901.02 et seq.; 48-904.01 et seq.
||Up to two (2) ounces legal. See above for more details.
||Crime with penalty of five (5) yrs. and/or $50,000; Subsequent offense: double penalties; Within drug-free zone or sale to minor: up to twice the punishment
Amendment Act B18-622
(80KB) "Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act of 2010" -- Approved 13-0 by the Council of the District of Columbia on May 4, 2010; signed by the Mayor on May 21, 2010|
Effective: July 27, 2010 [After being signed by the Mayor, the law underwent a 30-day Congessional review period. Neither the Senate nor the House acted to stop the law, so it became effective when the review period ended.]
Approved Conditions: HIV, AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, conditions characterized by severe and persistent muscle spasms, such as multiple sclerosis; patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or using azidothymidine
or protease inhibitors.
Possession/Cultivation: "Patients are permitted to purchase up to two (2) ounces of dried medical marijuana per month or the equivalent of two ounces of dried medical marijuana when sold in any other form." ("Patient FAQ," doh.dc.gov, May 2013)
Updates: On Apr. 14, 2011, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced the adoption of an emergency amendment
(450 KB) to title 22 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR), which added a new subtitle C entitled "Medical Marijuana." The emergency amendment "will set forth the process and procedure" for patients, caregivers, physicians, and dispensaries, and "implement the provisions of the Act that must be addressed at the onset to enable the Department to administer the program." The final rulemaking
(800 KB) was posted online on Jan. 3, 2012.
On Feb. 14, 2012, the DC Department of Health's Health Regulation and Licensing Administration posted a revised timeline for the dispensary application process
(180 KB), which listed June 8, 2012 as the date by which the Department intends to announce dispensary applicants available for registration.
The first dispensary, Capital City Care, was licensed in Apr. 2013.
Health Regulation and Licensing Administration
899 N. Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Medical Marijuana Program