Medical (Comprehensive) and Recreational (Comprehensive)

Important Dates

1998: Voters approved Initiative 59 legalizing medical marijuana.
2013: After being delayed by congress, the first legal medical marijuana sale in a dispensary took place.
2014: The possession of small amounts of marijuana for individuals 18 and older was decriminalized.
2014: Voters approved Initiative 71 making the possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana legal.


The legalization of marijuana has always been a heated topic of debate between voters and Congress in the nation’s capital, Washington DC. In 1989, Initiative 59 was passed by 69%, legalizing medical marijuana. However, shortly after, Congress passed legislation that delayed the first legal medical marijuana sale until 2013.

In 2014, Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for individuals 18 and older. Initiative 71 was also passed in 2014 by 65% which legalized the possession, cultivation and gifting of recreational marijuana. Though local politicians are generally in favor of legalizing the sale of marijuana, Congress has prevented it by restricting their budget.

There is currently a lot of gray area surrounding marijuana laws in Washington DC while its future remains under deliberation.


Can I possess, buy or grow marijuana in Washington DC?

It is legal for individuals over the age of 21 to carry up to two ounces of marijuana in public for personal use. An individual can grow up to six marijuana plants for recreational use however, only three can be mature or flowering at a time. Currently, you cannot legally buy recreational marijuana in Washington DC.

Can I operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana in Washington DC?

No. A person cannot operate a vehicle under any type of drug, including marijuana.

How do I get a medical marijuana card in Washington DC?

Once proving that you are a resident of Washington DC and getting a recommendation from a doctor, you must fill out your Medical Marijuana Program application form and submit a fee. If approved, your card will be mailed to you.

Can I use marijuana in public in Washington DC?

No. Marijuana must be used on your own private property.

Can I sell marijuana in Washington DC?

No, you cannot currently buy or sell marijuana in Washington DC.


The information presented here should not be construed as legal advice. State and Federal laws are always subject to change. We aim to keep this page as updated as possible; however, for additional information regarding Washington DC marijuana laws, please see Find Law and the National Conference of State Legislatures.