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How to Buy Cannabis from a Recreational Dispensary in D.C.

If you’ve spent any time in the nation’s capital, you’ll likely have noticed the many dispensaries that litter the downtown area. That’s because, surprisingly to some, D.C. is actually among one of the first handful of states and U.S. territories to legalize recreationally. For those who have spent some time in the nation’s capital, however, know that D.C. has some complicated and confusing rules when it comes to actually getting your hands on some legal recreational pot. Thankfully, we’re here to break it all down in detail for you. 

This article is going to break down what you need to do and know when buying recreational weed in D.C., how to avoid trouble when picking up and using legal recreational cannabis products in the nation’s capital, and how to choose a recreational dispensary to purchase from in the first place. So without too much further delay, let’s get right into it! 

So Is Weed Legal in Washington D.C.?

Yes, but there’s some shades of gray to break down here. While it’s undeniably true that recreational cannabis is both legal and decriminalized in D.C., it’s also true that you can’t legally BUY recreational cannabis in D.C. Confusing, right? So if you can’t buy legal recreational weed, how do you go about stocking up for a smoke session in D.C.? Well, thanks to a legal gray area, those seeking recreational cannabis need to be “gifted” it rather than being able to buy it like pretty much every other state where recreational cannabis is legal aside from Virginia. 

To understand how exactly to buy recreational pot products in the nation’s capital, you’ll first need to get a firmer grip on the law itself! 

What is Initiative 71?

Thanks to the 2015 passage of this bill, recreational use of cannabis is fully legal in D.C. As long as someone is over the age of 21, is holding less than two ounces of cannabis flower, and isn’t using that cannabis product in a public place, they’re absolutely not breaking the law. Where many go wrong, however, is that those same people can’t exchange money for the cannabis itself. Instead, they need to use D.C.’s so-called gift loophole. 

According to D.C. law, you can’t directly pay money for the cannabis itself. That would be breaking the law. You can, however, accept cannabis given to you after another transaction, like for a pipe, bong, or some rolling papers. Once you make that purchase, the dispensary you’re buying from will typically “gift” you some cannabis to go along with the paraphernalia you just bought. That way, D.C. law is still being followed and everyone gets what they want. The dispensaries get paid and the consumer gets their weed. Everyone is happy!     

How to Buy Recreational Weed in D.C.?

Aside from D.C. gift loophole, getting your hands on some weed in the nation’s capital goes pretty much the same as every other state. You’ll locate a top-notch recreational dispensary, like Peace In The Air for example, and head over there with cash on hand. You’ll want to make sure you’re paying in cash since most recreational dispensaries operate as cash-only businesses due to the continued federal illegality of weed. To save yourself some time and money, do your research on dispensary menus and strain before ever stepping foot in your dispensary of choice. 

Figuring out which dispensary to buy from, however, can be a challenge in itself. Below are some things to consider when choosing the right recreational dispensary for you! 

Consider Convenience For Recreational Cannabis

Recreational cannabis dispensaries in D.C. offer you a lot of options to make sure you get your products. Not only do dispensaries like Peace In The Air has a well-designed, visually appealing stores, helpful and knowledgeable budtenders and a massive array of product options. But different dispensaries just have different stuff. Simply put, the cannabis flower you’ll get from dispensaries in Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, or Colony Hill, will likely be different than the strains, edibles, and vapes you’ll get from dispensaries in areas like Marshall Heights, Fort Dupont, and Columbia Heights. What many might not know, however, is that these dispensaries offer a tremendous amount of pick-up and delivery options. If you’re running short on time or just passing through downtown, you can order ahead through Peace In The Air’s website and pick-up your favorite products curbside. If you’re settled down somewhere and not looking to take the trip in-person, you can always order delivery. There are lots of options regarding recreational weed in D.C.  

Do Your Research

There are a lot of recreational dispensaries scattered around D.C., many of which aren’t I71 compliant. Now, while it might not seem like a big deal to just purchase from some of these sketchy, unlicensed dispensaries, it’s not a good idea for a few reasons. 

Firstly, it could get you into a lot of legal trouble. While it’s true that D.C. has legalized and decriminalized many aspects of legal cannabis, they still take a hard-lined stance against allowing any for-profit sales. If you get busted by law enforcement paying cash for your cannabis directly, you’ll get into trouble. 

Secondly, these sketchy, unlicensed dispensaries are already breaking the law by selling cannabis the way that they do. Do you think that their standards for their product are high? You’re likely to end up with a bag of crappy weed full of stems and seeds than you are with high-quality, well-grown and processed cannabis products, and you’ll have no way of getting to the bottom of things. Licensed dispensaries have quality standards to uphold and laws to follow, so you’re more likely to get better quality products from licensed, legit dispensaries like Peace In The Air.

You should be able to figure out which dispensaries are legit or not with just a little bit of research online. You’ll already be there checking prices and looking at menus anyways, so why not take the extra minute or two to figure out if that dispensary you’re considering is I71 compliant or not!   

Smoking Weed in DC at Events

Often, there are weed events where people can trade, exhibit, and sell their cannabis items. 

Depending on the location of the event, you may be able to legally smoke while you are there. It depends on if the event is on private property. Some businesses are given special permission to allow smoking on their premises.

If the owner of the property has given permission to smoke, then you can feel free to spark up at one of these events.

However, there are rules that the owner/host must abide by in order to adhere to DC smoking regulations. There will usually be a designated area for those that want to smoke while attending. 

The Bottom Line

While legal recreational cannabis in D.C. is totally a thing, there’s some factors to consider that make getting a hold of recreational pot in D.C. a little more complicated than some other states. As long as you’re willing to follow the gifting loophole, do the research to figure out the right dispensary, and figure out the proper products at the right prices, you’ll be off and running, having a great time in the nation’s capital! 

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