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State Regulations

The Legal Status of Cannabis in the District of Columbia

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Both recreational and medical cannabis is legal in the District of Columbia (DC). Ballot Initiative 59 passed with a 69% vote in 1998 but city lawmakers later blocked it citing a congressional ban. This ban got lifted in 2010 and legislation approving the establishment of medical cannabis dispensaries also got passed. Patients in the District of Columbia may register online to access the program.

Some of the qualifying medical conditions which are approved for medical marijuana in this district include:

  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Chronic intractable pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Terminal illness
  • Epilepsy as well as persistent and severe involuntary muscle spasms
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Initiative 71, which took effect on February 26, 2015, allowed for:

  • Adults of 21 years and above to possess without penalty, amounts of up to 2 Oz of marijuana at one's primary residence.
  • A transfer without payment of up to 1 Oz of marijuana to a different individual who is also at least 21 years at the time of transfer. There however should not be a sale.
  • The cultivation of twelve cannabis plants in one dwelling with adults of above 21 years became legal. Only six of the twelve plants should be flowering at any given time.

Cannabis Infractions in the District of Columbia

Public use of cannabis is a misdemeanor though it is generally handled through “a cite and release procedure.”

Intentional possession of cannabis that is more than 2 Oz and has not been recommended by a physician is a misdemeanor that could attract a jail term of up to 6 months or a fine not exceeding $1,000. First offenses are deferred without a guilty judgment being entered and one may be put on probation for not more than a year but subsequent offenses will be looked at less kindly.

Enlisting a minor for the distribution of cannabis (a controlled substance) by someone that is 21 years and older is punishable by up to 10 years in jail or a fine not exceeding $10,000, A second offense of this nature would lead to a probable jail sentence of 20 years and a fine not exceeding $20,000.

Possessing cannabis with the “intent to distribute” within 1000 feet of any appropriately identified private or public daycare center, vocational school, elementary school, junior college,  secondary school, University, college, or any public playground, swimming pool, video arcade, public library or youth center could earn you a double penalty.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.