Washington, DC Medical Marijuana Card
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Medical Marijuana Card in the District of Columbia
If you live in Washington D.C. and have considered using medical marijuana for a health condition you have, it’s important to know what the laws are in your city. Knowing what regulations are put into place in the District of Columbia will help set you up for success if you plan to pursue a medical marijuana card while residing in the city.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in D.C.?
Yes, medical marijuana is legal in Washington D.C. The Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act of 2010 legalized the purchase and use of cannabis for medicinal purposes for anyone in the district who has a qualifying medical condition.
If you want to apply for a medical card, there is a process you must follow in order to do so.
How to Qualify for Medical Marijuana in D.C.
When medical marijuana was first legalized in Washington D.C., there was a list of specific conditions that the patient had to be diagnosed with in order to qualify for a medical card. However, that list has gone away and it is now up to the patient’s doctor to determine if they are eligible for a medical card.
Without the list of ailments, anyone can technically qualify for a medical card if their physician feels that marijuana would benefit them based on their health history and current medical conditions. However, there is still a list of conditions that tend to be more likely to be referred for a medical card:
- Crohn’s Disease
- Chronic pain
- Terminal illness
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
It is still a requirement that the patient requesting a medical card must first have a full evaluation with their doctor to determine potential eligibility and benefits of medicinal use of cannabis.
Once a patient has qualified for a medical marijuana card, they would need to start the process of obtaining that card.
How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in D.C.
In order to obtain a medical marijuana card in the District of Columbia, patients will have to go through the application process. Before starting the application, they will need to ensure they have the correct paperwork to accompany it.
All applicants must have their referral from a doctor, their Social Security Number (or a sworn affidavit saying they don’t have one), a passport photo, and their government-issued photo I.D. If their I.D. isn’t a REAL I.D., then the applicant will also need to provide proof of D.C. address.
Receiving a medical marijuana card as a D.C. resident allowed the cardholder to purchase up to eight ounces of marijuana during a rolling 30-day period. The cardholder is also allowed to possess up to two ounces of marijuana on their person at any given time. Currently, the permitted forms of cannabis that can be used with a medical card in D.C. include flowers, concentrates, edibles, and transdermal products.
Medical Marijuana Card Application in D.C.
Applications for medical cannabis cards in D.C. can be made either online or by mail, though online is preferred. The cost of an application is $100, but there are discounts for certain low-income applicants. In order to apply for a medical card, the patient must be 18 or older. Otherwise, they have to have their designated caregiver apply for a caregiver card on their behalf.
It’s important to be prompt about filing your application after receiving the written recommendation from your physician. The Department of Health (DOH) doesn’t accept written recommendations that are older than 90 days. You also need to build in time to collect the other paperwork required, so remember that as well.
The paperwork needed will depend on the type of doctor that gave the written recommendation. If a patient got their recommendation from a primary care physician, their paperwork would be different compared to the person who got theirs from a dentist.
If issues come up while filling out the application, applicants are able to go to one of the many dispensaries in the district and ask for help. There will be someone working there who will be able to guide you every step of the way if needed.
Once the application is sent in, the applicant must simply wait for a response. Applications are handled in the order they come in. If you apply online, you will receive a couple of emails throughout the application process: one for the application fee payment and another when your application is processed.
How Long to Renew a Medical Marijuana Card in D.C.?
Once you have become a medical marijuana cardholder, it’s important to note that the card must be renewed every 12 months. When it comes time to renew, patients are required to pay a $100 renewal fee to extend their license for the next year.
Patients are required to have an annual evaluation with their physician as well in order to keep their medical cards. It’s important to schedule the annual evaluation with plenty of time left for renewal so that the current medical license doesn’t lapse.
Renewals of medical cards are able to be done online, through the mail, or in person, depending on which option is most convenient for the patient.
How Many Plants Can You Grow in D.C.?
As of 2014, residents of Washington D.C. are able to grow their own marijuana for both medical and recreational uses. However, the rules surrounding this permission can be kind of complicated.
If an adult aged 21 or older lives alone, they can grow up to six marijuana plants at a time, with only three allowed to be mature and flowering at one time. If there are two or more adults living in the home, the number of plants allowed jumps up to 12, and the number of mature plants allowed jumps to six.
However, there are a few more stipulations in place. Marijuana can’t be grown for any reason if it’s within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare, swimming pool, library, youth center, or other public building. Also, cannabis can only be grown on the grower’s private property.
If grown outside, the marijuana plants must be hidden from plain view for anyone who passes by. However, many people prefer to grow their plants indoors in D.C. because of limited locations to plant as well as the varying weather conditions throughout the year.
Finally, anyone who lives in an apartment or other rented property has to check with their landlord or property manager to see if they are okay with marijuana being grown on their property. Since it’s up to the discretion of the landowner, you are legally required to check with them first.
Medical Marijuana Dispensary in D.C.
Dispensaries are the only place where medical marijuana cardholders are allowed to purchase cannabis in Washington D.C. It’s important to note that, though recreational marijuana use is legal in the district, dispensaries are not legally allowed to sell marijuana to anyone that doesn’t have a medical card.
If someone wants to apply to open a dispensary in D.C., they must wait for the open application window, as applications are only accepted during certain times. In addition, the applicant must not have been convicted of a felony in the last three years and must be 21 or older. Physicians who recommend patients for medical marijuana are not allowed to apply. If approved, applicants may only have one dispensary.
Applicants are required to determine where they would want their dispensary located if approved, considering the restrictions put in place. Dispensaries aren’t allowed to be located within 300 feet of a school, daycare, or recreational center. They also can’t be co-located with another business or located in a residential district. If all the requirements are met, applicants can begin the process of applying for a dispensary registration license.
Currently, there are six dispensaries in D.C.:
- Capital City in Ward One
- Herbal Alternatives in Ward Two
- National Holistic Healing Center in Ward Two
- Takoma Wellness in Ward Four
- KINFOLK Dispensary in Ward Six
- Cannabliss in Ward Seven
- Anacostia Organics in Ward Eight
Medical marijuana should not be purchased anywhere other than legally licensed dispensaries in Washington D.C.
How Does Reciprocity Work in D.C. for Medical Marijuana?
Washington D.C. allows for all out-of-state medical cardholders to make purchases at the dispensaries in the district. To purchase at a D.C. dispensary, out-of-state cardholders need to bring their state-issued photo I.D., their current medical marijuana card, and their recommendation for their physician if they are purchasing for the first time at a dispensary.
These documents need to be ready at the door because they will need to be seen before you are allowed in the building.
While the process for recreational marijuana in Washington D.C. can be confusing, the guidelines for medical marijuana in the district are easily accessible. Washington D.C. has one of the more lenient qualifying processes for medical cannabis, as it’s left to the doctor’s discretion whether a patient needs a prescription, regardless of medical conditions.
Marijuana is legal to be grown in D.C. by anyone 21 or older as long as they follow the rules put in place. However, it is still illegal for marijuana to be purchased by anyone who doesn’t hold a valid medical card. While these laws may change in the near future, it’s important to know the most up-to-date information so you can safely take part in the medical marijuana process in Washington, D.C.
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.