Dispensaries, Delivery Companies, and Other Ways to Get Weed in DC

Everything you need to know about DC’s confusing cannabis laws.

dc weed guide
Image by Emily Carpenter
Image by Emily Carpenter

While cannabis use isn’t 100% legal yet in DC, that could change very soon. If the Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2021 that Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced in February passes by the end of the year, adult use of cannabis would be legalized, records related to cannabis convictions would be expunged, and we could see recreational dispensaries in the District as soon as 2022. 

But we’re not quite there yet. So until then, use some of that extra pandemic time we all have on our hands to read up on DC’s cannabis laws. They’re a bit confusing and you may have some questions, so we compiled a guide with everything you need to know before lighting up in Washington DC.

So is marijuana legal in DC?

Technically yes, but it’s not quite black and white. In fact, many say that DC operates in a gray area because you can possess weed under the law but you can’t buy or sell it.

When Initiative 71 passed in 2014, it became legal for anyone over 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, transfer up to one ounce to another person (as long as no money is exchanged), grow up to six plants at a time, and have bongs, rolling paper, and other paraphernalia on hand.

What’s the catch?

Breaking any part of the law above can still get you arrested. But as long as you’re not possessing more than two ounces, selling to a friend, or taking a hit if you’re under 21, you should be in the clear. The law also states that you can’t use marijuana in public, so think twice before lighting up on the back of the Lincoln Memorial or eating an edible while enjoying the spring weather in your neighborhood.

DC is not a state and 22% of the land is actually federal property, where cannabis is not legal. So while you shouldn’t be smoking in public, you can walk around neighborhoods with up to two ounces of weed on you. But beware that you may be breaking the law if you wander onto the National Mall, Rock Creek Park, or any other federal land in the District.

So if I can’t buy it, how can I get weed?

You have a couple options. You could get a medical card and visit one of DC’s medical marijuana dispensaries like Metropolitan Wellness Center, Capital City Care, and the National Holistic Healing Center.

If you don’t want to go the medical route and you don’t have a friend who can give you an ounce, DC also has delivery services that provide marijuana as a gift with the purchase of something else.


How does gifting from delivery services work?

There are several delivery services in DC that offer weed as a gift with the purchase of accessories like rolling paper and ashtrays or unrelated items like t-shirts and art. Companies like HighSpeed and Joint Delivery allow DC residents to choose marked up items like $65 tie-dyed t-shirts or $50 trippy posters and choose a strain of gift. District Derp, another gifting vendor, sells paintings made by an adorable Alaskan Klee Kai dog named Sudo alongside a cannabis edible gift.

Some sites ask you to register your ID information online before ordering, but make sure you also have it in hand upon delivery or you won’t be able to collect your gift.

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Liz Provencher is an associate editor at Thrillist. You can follow her on Twitter or see what she eats on Instagram.