DC Paraphernalia laws - Are Bongs, Scales, and Grinders Legal?

Small possession and consumption of marijuana in Washington, DC has been legalized through Initiative 71, but what about cannabis paraphernalia? If you have a scale, baggy, grinder, or bong with weed residue can you get in trouble for this in Washington DC?

In this article, we focus on what DC weed laws have to say about cannabis paraphernalia and how to stay compliant within the laws in 2023.

DC Drug Paraphernalia Laws 2023

The “Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use” (Initiative 71) went into effect in February 2015, which decriminalized a number of cannabis related charges including, possession, consumption, cultivating, and paraphernalia.

Initiative 71 allows you to possess marijuana paraphernalia appropriate for no more than one ounce of marijuana as long as you are 21 years of age, even though the legal possession amount is 2 ounces.

Below we will take a look at common cannabis paraphernalia that are now legal in Washington DC and how to stay within the legal limit of each paraphernalia category. 

Are Bongs and Pipes Legal in DC?


Chapter 11 of the Code of the District of Columbia makes any object used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling cannabis legal.

This includes:

  • Water pipes (bongs)
  • Dab Rigs
  • Gas mask bongs
  • Roach clips
  • Weed pipes (spoon pipes)
  • Chamber pipes (bubblers or hammer bubblers)
  • Carburetor pipes (spoon or steamroller)
  • Hand pipes (chillums and one hitters)
  • Electric pipes (erigs and laser bong)
  • Gravity bongs
  • Bongs
  • Ice pipes or glycerin style pipes

If you happen to own an item in the above list that is more than 50 years of age, it is no longer considered drug paraphernalia. 

DC law prohibits you to have more than two ounces in your possession, so if you are found carrying more than the legal limit of cannabis and caught with drug paraphernalia like a bong or weed pipe, the paraphernalia will not constitute as a violation but the marijuana will.

Are Baggies, Scales, and Ziplocks Legal in DC?

So what if you are caught with a scale, 1 inch by 1 inch zip-locks, or larger zip locks with cannabis? According to DC law, it is legal to use these items for packaging small quantities of marijuana for personal use and consumption of marijuana.


Remember, DC law states Drug Paraphernalia is only legal if it’s in association with one ounce or less of marijuana. So if you are carrying an ounce of marijuana but have enough zip locks for multiple pounds with residue of marijuana in those ziplocks it can constitute as having drug paraphernalia for over an ounce.

The key to staying compliant is to only carry enough baggies, ziplocks, or scales for personal use of marijuana. It’s within legal limits to even carry an ounce of weed bagged up into 28 separate grams, something that would have been seen as distribution before 2015.

Scales and balances or other objects used or intended for use in weighing cannabis are all legal as well.

Are Blunts, Cones, and Rolling Papers Legal in DC?

If you’re like me, you may get a bit paranoid when driving around with blunt wrap or even RAW cones in your car. In 2023, it’s completely legal to possess any of these wrapping papers used specifically for cannabis without worrying about getting a cannabis DUI in DC.

This includes any blunt wraps, rolling papers, or hollow pre-rolled cones that are meant to be filled with cannabis and smoked.

In order to stay within legal limits, you cannot have excess paraphernalia for more than once ounce of marijuana. So you want to avoid having a box full of thousands of pre-rolls, as Law Enforcement will know this is not for personal use. Also, it’s important to never have more than two ounces of marijuana on you with any blunt papers, joint papers, or hollow cones.

What About Grow Kits, Grow Tents, and Grow Lights?

Initiative 71 legalized growing and cultivating cannabis for DC residents, which also made cannabis cultivation paraphernalia legal as well. You can now grow up to 6 plants in your home, with no more than 3 plants in bloom state at any given time. 

In order to grow cannabis you of course need a ton of additional items such as a grow tent, grow light, grow kits, hydroponic trays, and grow medium, all which constituted as drug paraphernalia prior to 2015. 

Now in 2023 it’s completely legal to own grow lights, grow tents, or any item used or deigned for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting any cannabis plants. You want to only have enough equipment for 6 plants, but there is no specific law limiting you on the amount of cultivation paraphernalia in DC, the only limitation is the amount of plants grown per household in Washington DC.

Testing Equipment, Trimming/Curing Equipment, and Other Paraphernalia Legalized in DC

Below are other weed paraphernalia legalized in DC 2023:

Cannabis Testing Equipment: If you own any THC potency testers or total cannabinoid testing equipment similar to the Infinity II Prime LC, these are all considered legal cannabis paraphernalia. Any equipment used to analyze the strength, effectiveness, or purity of cannabis is considered legal paraphernalia.

Curing/Trimming Equipment: If you grow your own weed in DC, you will need to trim and cure your cannabis. Any trim kits, separation gins, sifters, or curing stations used to remove seeds, leaves, twigs, or for curing and refining is all considered cannabis paraphernalia is now legal in Washington DC.

Stash jars, boxes, and storage: Any containers used for preserving cannabis from mason jars, stash jars, stash boxes, are all considered legal paraphernalia in DC. As long as you don’t have more than 2 ounces of marijuana stored in these containers in your possession.

Final Thoughts

Prior to Initiative 71, you would have to hide a pipe or blunt wraps the same as you would marijuana. With the passing of I71 now DC marijuana position and consumption is decriminalized and so is paraphernalia. No matter if you are in your car, walking, or at home, cannabis paraphernalia is legal in DC, as long as that paraphernalia stays within legal limits.

So, as long as you have a reasonable amount of cannabis paraphernalia, appropriate for no more than one ounce of marijuana. 

In summary, when it comes to marijuana paraphernalia in DC, you want to only have enough for personal use of marijuana, anything more will begin being seen as distribution and manufacturing, which are both criminal charges.