Medical Marijuana Washington, DC Frequently Asked Questions

Medical Marijuana Washington, DC FAQ


Is Medical Marijuana Legal in the District of Columbia?

You will find that medical marijuana is allowed in the District of Columbia. It would have been one of the first locations in the country that offered medical marijuana, as it was initially passed in 1998 with 69% of the vote. However, it was delayed, and funds were stripped from the program. It was overturned for years before finally passing in May of 2010. It became legal to buy medical cannabis at a dispensary in 2013.

Is Recreational Weed Legal in DC?

With DC marijuana legalized for medical purposes, it was only a matter of time before it became legal recreationally. However, you will find that Washington DC and many states around the country have some very different rules when it comes to recreational use, at least in terms of how they can get the marijuana.

There are not any dispensaries or stores that sell recreational weed in DC. You can only find a medical marijuana dispensary in DC. However, you aren’t allowed to buy recreational marijuana from them, which can put many people into something of a Catch-22.

This means that you will need to grow your own plants if you want to have marijuana. However, you have to make sure that you are growing according to the law. More on that below.

How to Get Approved for Medical Marijuana in DC?

The District of Columbia’s Department of Health is responsible for the medical marijuana program. If you hope to qualify, you will need to be a resident of DC and at least 18 years old. Additionally, you will need to have at least one qualifying medical condition.

Those who are under 18 and who may want to have a medical marijuana card will need to have a parent or guardian apply for them. They will be your designated caregiver. You can also choose someone else as your caregiver if you prefer.

To be a caregiver, you will need to be at least 18 years old, designated by the patient to serve as a caregiver, and not be the caregiver to another patient. They should also have a clear criminal background and not have any prior conditions for controlled substances.

Medical conditions that are likely to qualify include:

In the past, there was a strict list of conditions. However, there have been amendments to the law, and the program now allows doctors with a medical license in DC to determine whether or not medical marijuana would help a person’s condition.

Do You Need a Medical Marijuana Card in DC?

Why should you get a medical marijuana card in DC if weed is legal for recreational use? As mentioned, it’s not easy to get marijuana unless you go to a dispensary and only medical card holders can buy from them. Therefore, if you have a medical condition the doctor feels could be benefited from marijuana, it will be much easier for you to try to get a card. You can then go to any DC medical marijuana dispensary to buy your products.

There are other benefits to getting a medical marijuana card, as well. The biggest of which is that it is simply easier. The process of learning to grow marijuana plants and getting it right is not easy for everyone.

How Does Medical Marijuana License Work in DC?

A DC medical card will be good for a year. Patients will need to get a new medical card before their current card expires. If you have an expired card, you won’t be able to buy from a marijuana dispensary in DC. When it comes time to renew, the current cost of renewal is $100. This will extend the license for an additional year.

Something else to keep in mind is that patients are required to have an annual evaluation with their doctor. This is required if they want to keep their medical marijuana cards. You want to make sure you do this with enough time left before the renewal period runs out. Typically, you will find that renewals are possible online, via the mail, or in-person.

What Are the Marijuana Laws in DC?

In addition to the laws discussed throughout the other questions, there are still certain things you will want to know about marijuana in DC. For example, you need to know where you can consume marijuana.

You are only allowed to use the medical cannabis on your property or private residence. You are not allowed to use it in any public spaces. This includes locations that sell medical marijuana. Other prohibited areas include schools, workplaces, bars, restaurants, and outdoor venues. You are not allowed to use cannabis on rooftop properties, either.

How Many Marijuana Plants Can You Grow in DC?

Since 2014, residents of DC have been able to grow their own marijuana for recreational and medical use. While this can be a huge benefit for those who have the space and the time, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of the growing.

First, you will need to grow only on your personal property. If you have a landlord, you will need their permission to grow the weed.

Also, the rules state that anyone who lives alone will be able to grow up to six marijuana plants at a time. However, only three of the plants are allowed to be flowering at any one time. If two or more adults are living in the home, they can have up to 12 marijuana plants growing at once. In that case, only six of them can be flowering at any one time.

Even with DC weed legalization, there are still other rules you will have to follow. If you are within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare, swimming pool, youth center, library, or other types of public buildings, you won’t be allowed to grow weed.

If the plants are grown outside, they need to be grown in a location where no one who passes by the property can see them. Most people who are in DC will opt to grow their weed indoors, anyway, as there tends to be limited outdoor space for growing.

Are the Marijuana Dispensaries in DC Only Medical?

Yes, as mentioned, you aren’t going to find any dispensaries that will sell to anyone who does not have a medical marijuana card despite marijuana legalization in DC. Those medical dispensaries are likely to have a wide range of different types of products available, but they are all geared toward medicinal use.

How Does Reciprocity Work in DC for Medical Marijuana?

One of the other good things about DC marijuana laws is how it handles people who are arriving from other states and who have medical marijuana cards. You will find that DC reciprocity will now apply to medical marijuana cards from any state in the country.

This means that if you are traveling from out of state, and you need to buy marijuana for medical purposes, you can. Take your card to any of the dispensaries in DC and you can buy marijuana.

  • Is cannabis legal in DC?

    Yes, both medical and adult-use cannabis is legal in Washington DC. However, the process of actually purchasing cannabis from a licensed dispensary is only available for medical patients.

  • Who qualifies for DC’s medical marijuana program? Who oversees it?

    The District of Columbia Department of Health is who oversees all of DC’s medical marijuana program. To qualify, you must have at least one debilitating medical condition, be at least 18 years of age, and be a resident of DC.


    If you’re under 18 years of age and wish to obtain an MMJ card in DC, you must have your parent or guardian apply for the program for you. Then, they will either be your designated caregiver, or you can appoint someone else.

  • What is the medical marijuana program application process like?

    The process of applying for your medical marijuana card in DC is actually quite simple. Like most states, you must first meet with an approved physician who can write you a recommendation. Once you have this recommendation, you will fill out the patient application form (unless you’re a minor; then, your parents will complete this step).


    From there, you will have to choose which dispensary you want to shop at, a caregiver if you want one, and provide proof of DC residency in two different forms. After this, you will pay a one-time $100 application fee and wait for your card to arrive.

  • What are the qualifying medical conditions for an MMJ card in DC?

    In the past, DC did have a set list of medical conditions to qualify for an MMJ card. However, with amendments to this law, now the program states that the physician will determine whether or not your current medical condition(s) can be helped or alleviated through medicinal cannabis. If they believe it can, they will write you a recommendation.

  • Where can I buy medical cannabis in DC?

    When you apply for your medical marijuana card, you will be given a list of licensed dispensaries to choose from. A medical patient in DC can only purchase cannabis from the designated dispensary listed on the MMJ card. 

  • Where can I consume it?

    You can only consume medical cannabis in your private residence or property. You cannot consume cannabis in any public space, including places that sell medical marijuana. Moving vehicles, outdoor venues, schools, workplaces, restaurants, bars, and even rooftop patios are prohibited for cannabis consumption. 

  • How much cannabis can I possess in DC?

    Patients and caregivers can possess up to two ounces of cannabis at one time. You can legally cultivate up to six plants in your home, but they must be kept in secure areas and out of the public eye.

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

    Yes, DC does accept out-of-state medical cards coming from states with MMJ programs similar to theirs.

  • Does DC require lab testing on cannabis products?

    Yes! The Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Act requires testing of THC and CBD to ensure ultimate purity and safety measures.

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