Guide to Washington D.C. Cannabis: How Can I Order Weed in Washington D.C.?

Guide to Washington D.C. Cannabis: How Can I Order Weed in Washington D.C.?

Published on 10/26/22

The common narrative is that cannabis is legal in Washington, D.C., but the truth is a bit grayer. While the plant is technically legal to consume and grow in regulated increments, it is essentially illegal to buy - leaving businesses to get creative with "gifting" models wherein customers can purchase a good like a t-shirt for the price of an eighth with the bud included as a "free gift." In this guide, we'll tell you all about cannabis legality in Washington, D.C., how to obtain legal and medical weed, and where you can smoke in the city.

Is Weed Legal in D.C.?


While the passing of Initiative 71 was undoubtedly a big win in the fight toward cannabis legalization in the District, it did not fully legalize cannabis as many assume. Whether you're asking, "can I buy bud from a registered dispensary?" or "can I grow weed in Washington, DC?" we can help to reveal the clear truth of these muddy laws.

In 2015, Initiative 71 (the Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act) was passed to make a few legal guidelines around adult-use possession and consumption. Now, it is legal to possess and use recreational marijuana, and adults 21 years or older can cultivate up to six plants in a single household.

While Initiative 71 legalized the possession of up to two ounces of adult-use marijuana by anyone 21 years or older, it did not allow recreational dispensaries to open. Therefore, despite it being legal to possess adult-use cannabis, there are no recreational dispensaries in D.C. where you can legally "buy" weed. This leads many visitors to wonder, "Can tourists buy weed in D.C.?" The legal loophole that many business owners have found for this is to legally "gift" marijuana to a customer who purchases another item, like a T-shirt. While this makes for quite the overpriced T-shirt, the free gift of bud is what you're really paying for. This, however, leaves the market vulnerable to non-reputable sources and unregulated goods.

How to Get Out of the Gray

There have been several attempts over the last few years to tax and regulate the sale of legal marijuana in the District, but a few major political hurdles stand in the way. The Harris Rider, an appropriations bill that prevents D.C. from using its locally raised funds to create a tax-and-regulate system for weed, is one of these significant issues.

Additionally, Washington, D.C. does not have control of its own budget - Congress currently oversees it. In 2014, right before Initiative 71 took effect, Republican congressman Andy Harris proposed a rider on the bill that prevents Washington, D.C., from using any money to tax and regulate recreational marijuana. Republicans have held the majority in Congress for years, so the Harris Rider continues to be passed -- effectively blocking any legalization attempts by the city.

Washington, D.C. has been suing for statehood for over a century, but the modern statehood movement didn't seriously start until the last few decades. In 1993, Congress voted on D.C. statehood for the first time and failed 277 to 153. In 2020 though, the House passed legislation along party lines to declare D.C.'s statehood. Advocates for statehood argue that generations of Washingtonians have been denied the right to fully participate in our democracy through representation in Congress. They are not allowed to help shape the future of our nation or have a say on Supreme Court justices. Under the Constitution, these tax-paying Americans deserve equality and autonomy in their government.

So, will D.C. ever get licensed recreational dispensaries? Since Democrats now control Congress and legalized cannabis is overwhelmingly supported in D.C., there is more of a chance now than ever. There are three avenues for these possibilities to come to light: the Harris Rider could get removed from the annual appropriations bill, Congress admits D.C. as the 51st state of the United States, or cannabis achieves full federal legalization.

If D.C. statehood does come to fruition, Congress would no longer control its budget. In that case, the D.C. government could allocate funds to regulate recreational cannabis: resulting in adult-use dispensaries and proper taxation. As for federal legalization, the recent Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), like the bill that passed the House earlier this year (the MORE Act), would decriminalize cannabis on the federal level. Some experts estimate that cannabis could become federally legal by 2024 or 2025.

How to Get Weed in D.C.

As for actually getting your hands on bud in the District, resources like Where's Weed make it easy to locate reputable sources and compare prices for your favorite goods.

Where to Get Weed in D.C.


To find your new favorite cannabis service in the District, your first stop is to search your location on Where's Weed. Many people living in the city are left wondering how to buy weed in D.C. without a medical card, but thanks to Initiative 71, all it takes is finding a reputable source. You have two main options when searching for cannabis businesses: going to a local dispensary or finding a delivery service. To know you're working with the real deal, be sure to check user reviews and check that their prices are consistent with others in the area.

So, how much does D.C. weed cost? Average prices typically look something like $50 for 1/8th of an ounce (3.5 grams), $80 for 1/4th of an ounce, $140 for half, and $200 for a full ounce. More premium products may cost more, or some places may run special deals that bring your cost down. Most delivery services also charge a delivery fee or expect a tip for their drivers.

To ensure you're getting the real thing, be sure that your packaging is completely unopened, and your bud is fully intact - nothing pre-ground except for pre-rolls. As for how to get medical weed in D.C., the application process for a card is quite simple, and patients can buy from a number of licensed dispensaries in D.C.

Where Can You Smoke in D.C.?

Unfortunately for outdoor tokers, much of D.C.'s green space is actually federal land - making it not a great spot for a smoke session. Initiative 71 is somewhat modeled after the law regarding possession of open containers of alcohol in public (or POCA). Like POCA, smoking in any park, street, alley, parking area, or sidewalk remains illegal. It is also illegal to toke up in a privately accessible public place like a store, bar, or club. When you're in D.C., your safest bet is to smoke on your own private property.

Where's Weed