Cannabis laws are different across the country, and Washington DC functions under a unique set of regulations. As the nation’s capital, it operates under a hybrid system of state and federal law. This makes washington dc weed legalization somewhat complicated for residents and visitors alike.
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On March 4, 2014, the Council of the District decriminalized marijuana possession. This was followed by a mandatory thirty-day review period with Congress. As a result, adults 21 and older may transport up to one ounce of marijuana without penalty. This is a stark contrast from other parts of the US where weed possession can lead to arrest, jail time, fines and even loss of driver’s license.
Medical marijuana is also legal in the city of washington dc. However, congressional efforts to block the opening of dispensaries has stifled the growth of this market.
As a result, many dc residents purchase their cannabis from gray market vendors who operate “gifting” dispensaries. These events take place in various venues throughout the city, including bars and restaurants. Although illegal, these establishments claim they are adhering to the law by charging a nominal fee for a gift. Regardless, the gifting market is still growing in popularity, and many of these businesses are owned by minority women and men.
The City of washington dc has recently passed legislation that would allow cannabis consumers to legally possess and grow up to six plants. Additionally, the new legislation would implement a seed-to-sale tracking system, and require that 60% of the owners of new cannabis businesses reside in the city. It would also require that any company that wishes to sell marijuana or cannabis must have a valid license to do so.