Medicinal and Recreational Cannabis Laws Every DC Resident Should Know

Medicinal cannabis has been legal in the DC regions since 1998, but because other laws were still in place, the first purchase of medicinal cannabis was not until 2013 just one year before DC legalized recreational cannabis. Even though laws have been passed making cannabis legal for both medicinal and recreational, there are still some gray areas in the law. Here is a guide to help you navigate the DC cannabis laws. 


Medicinal Cannabis Laws: 

Although medicinal cannabis has been legal since 1998, it took almost 12 years for the first dispensary to open in DC. In order to be able to enter a dispensary, you need to obtain a medicinal cannabis card. Here is a list of  requirements needed to receive your card:


  • Doctor’s Recommendation
  • Current Government Issued Photo ID
  • Two Forms of Proof of Residency
  • Two Additional Passport Sized Photos
  • A Complete Application Form
  • Money For Registration Fee


Once you have received your medicinal cannabis card you are now allowed to enter any licensed dispensary in the DC area. You must be present and purchase your medical cannabis in person or with an approved caregiver. 


Recreational Cannabis Cards: 

In 2014, DC residents approved the Initiative 71 which legalized the recreational use of cannabis for ages 21 and older. This doesn’t mean that everyone can now go into a dispensary and purchase the cannabis they’d want for recreational use. In addition to not buying the cannabis in a dispensary, the law states that you are not permitted to exchange money, goods, or services for cannabis from another individual. This means that cannabis is given as a gift or donated to an individual instead of the typical way of purchasing.  

Whether you have a medical cannabis card or are using it for recreational purchases, cannabis is not allowed to be used in public places. If you have any further questions about the laws of cannabis, contact our licensed dispensary, Herbal Alternatives, today for more information.