Registered Patient Population
of Total Population Represented by Patients
Total Medical Retail Locations Currently in Operation
233,543 : 1
Patients : Retail

Navigating the District of Columbia's Laws:

Patients and Caregivers: Enrolling and Accessing Medical Cannabis

Medical Professionals: Procedures for recommending Medical Cannabis

Policymakers and Advocates: Actions Needed to Improve Laws for Patients

NOTICE: It can be challenging for patients to determine which businesses offering cannabis products are licensed and approved by the state. Review this list of medical cannabis retailers to find out where to purchase regulated cannabis in the District of Columbia. 

Traveling? Get more information about traveling in the US here.

Home cultivation is allowed in Washington, D.C., for adults 21 or older. Six cannabis plants for recreational use, with three plants at maturity and three as seedlings. No more than twelve plants are allowed per household. Medical cannabis patients are not permitted to grow their cannabis plants legally.

Get involved locally!

Background on State Laws

Cannabis is legal to possess for all adults over 21. Anyone may cultivate up to six plants at home for personal use, or twelve plants in a household of two or more adults. Commercial cannabis sales remain illegal outside of DC’s medical program. Patients in the District are limited by a limited number of dispensaries and relatively high prices. Patients visiting the District from states with “functionally equivalent” programs have the benefit of reciprocity.

In 1998, medical cannabis was first approved in Washington, DC with the passing of Initiative 59 (I-59). However, this law could not be implemented. After some time, the DC Council was able to pass B18-0622: Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment of 2010 Initiative. The District’s medical cannabis program permits patients whose income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level to purchase medicine at a reduced rate, and also allows patients to pay a lower application fee when obtaining and renewing their medical cannabis cards. In 2015, adult-use possession and use of cannabis, which was approved the year before went into effect. It was not until 2018 that reciprocity was extended to patients from jurisdictions with medical cannabis programs functionally equivalent to the District’s. Since then, emergency measures have been passed to protect employee’s workplace rights, fighting discrimination for medical cannabis use. Details on how these laws apply to patients and medical professionals can be found below.

In 2023, The Second Chance Amendment Act of 2021 (B24-0063) was passed. This act calls for the automatic review and expungement of “convictions or citations specific to marijuana-related offenses that have subsequently been decriminalized or legalized” and “records related only to simple possession for any quantity of marijuana in violation of D.C. Code § 48-904.01(d)(1) before February 15, 2015.” The act was enacted on March 10, 2023 and requires that all expungements be completed by the courts no later than January 1, 2025.

Here is a breakdown of how the District of Columbia fared in ASA’s Annual State of the States Report, which evaluates the effectiveness of each state cannabis program from a patient perspective and assigns a grade using a rubric that reflects the key issues affecting patient access. Medical cannabis laws are constantly changing, ASA’s policy recommendations for the District of Columbia can be found below. For policy updates Sign Up here or Take Action!

Patient Rights and Civil Protections 60/100   
Arrest Protection 25/25
Affirmative Defense 20/20
Parental Rights Protections 0/20
Employment Protections 10/20
DUI Protections 0/10
Explicit Privacy Standards 5/5
Access to Medicine 60/100   
Authorizes Retail Access 10/10
Alternative Accessibility Methods 10/20
- Authorizes Delivery 0/10
- Authorizes Curbside Pickup 10/10
Personal Cultivation 15/15
Collective Gardening 0/5
Sufficient Number of Licensed Retailers 5/30
Reciprocity 20/20
Program Functionality 98/100   
Legal Protections Within Reasonable Time Frame 20/20
Reasonable Possession Limits 10/10
Reasonable Purchase Limits 10/10
Telemedicine for Physician Certifications 15/15
Patient and Physician Representation in Program Decision Making 20/20
Reasonable Caregiver Standards 3/5
- Background Checks 0/2
- Number of Caregivers 3/3
Reasonable Physician Standards 5/5
Access to Administration Methods 10/10
- Allows Dried Flower 5/5
- Allows Edibles, Concentrates, and Other Forms 5/5
Provides Access to Minors on School Grounds 5/5
Affordability 45/100   
Sales Tax Break for Patients and Caregivers 0/20
Covered by State Insurance or Health Aid 0/20
Reasonable Registration Fees 20/20
Financial Hardship Waivers or Discounts 15/20
Donation Program 0/10
Allows Multi-Year Registrations 10/10
Health and Social Equity 60/100   
State Program Protections 25/25
Housing Protections 0/25
Access for Minors 10/10
Access in Underserved Areas 5/10
List of Qualifying Conditions is Exhaustive or All Inclusive 10/10
Allows Patients to Medicate Where they Choose 0/10
Organ Transplants 5/5
Ownership or Employment Restrictions 5/5
Consumer Protection and Product Safety 125/200   
Cultivation Operations 22/50
Quality Management Systems 0/10
Staff Training 10/10
Standard Operating Procedures 0/8
- Facility and Equipment Sanitation 0/1
- Workplace Safety 0/1
- Storage 0/1
- Batch and Lot Tracking 0/1
- Security 0/1
- Waste Disposal 0/1
- Water Management 0/1
- Records Management 0/1
Pesticide Usage Limitations 2/2
Environmental Impact Regulations 0/2
Required Testing 8/8
- Cannabinoids 1/1
- Terpenes 1/1
- Microbials 1/1
- Aflatoxins 1/1
- Pesticides 1/1
- Heavy Metals 1/1
- Foreign Matter 1/1
- Moisture Content/ Water Activity 1/1
Packaging and Labeling 2/3
- Cannabinoids 1/1
- Terpenes 0/1
- Pesticides 1/1
Complaints, Adverse Event Reporting, and Recall Protocol 0/7
Manufacturing Operations 28/50
Quality Management Systems 5/10
Staff Training 10/10
Standard Operating Procedures 0/7
- Facility and Equipment Sanitation 0/1
- Workplace Safety 0/1
- Storage 0/1
- Batch and Lot Tracking 0/1
- Security 0/1
- Waste Disposal 0/1
- Records Management 0/1
Environmental Impact Regulations 0/3
Required Testing 10/10
- Cannabinoids 1/1
- Terpenes 1/1
- Microbials 1/1
- Aflatoxins 1/1
- Pesticides 1/1
- Heavy Metals 1/1
- Residual Solvents 1/1
- Homogeneity 1/1
- Foreign Matter 1/1
- Water Activity 1/1
Packaging and Labeling 3/5
- Cannabinoids 1/1
- Terpenes 0/1
- Ingredients 1/1
- Allergens 1/1
- Nutritional Content 0/1
Complaints, Adverse Event Reporting and Recall Protocol 0/5
Dispensary Operations 25/50
Staff Training 20/20
Standard Operating Procedures 0/7
- Facility Sanitation 0/1
- Workplace Safety 0/1
- Storage 0/1
- Batch and Lot Tracking 0/1
- Security 0/1
- Waste Disposal 0/1
- Records Management 0/1
Product Testing 5/10
- Product Meets Requirements Before Sale 5/5
- COA Disclosure 0/5
Complaints, Adverse Event Reporting and Recall Protocol 0/13
Laboratory Operations 50/50
Independent or Third-Party 5/5
Laboratory Sampling 5/5
Method Validation 4/4
Quality Management Systems 5/5
Staff Training 20/20
Standard Operating Procedures 7/7
- Facility and Equipment Sanitation 1/1
- Equipment and Instrument Calibration 1/1
- Workplace Safety 1/1
- Sample Tracking 1/1
- Security 1/1
- Waste Disposal 1/1
- Records Management 1/1
Result Reporting 4/4
Score Penalties 0/100   
Gives Regulatory Preference to Adult Use 0/20
Classifies Cannabis as a Medicine of Last Resort 0/15
Administrative or Supply Problems 0/15
Requires Vertical Integration 0/10
Creates New Criminal Penalties for Patients 0/10
Limits Patients to a Single Retailer 0/10
No System for Adding Qualifying Conditions 0/10
Imposes Bans or Limits on THC 0/5
Imposes Bans or Limits on CBD 0/5
Excerpted from ASA's 2022 State of the States Report.