DC Cannabis Roof Top and Garden Clubs - What We Know So Far 2023

The Medical Cannabis Amendment Act of 2022 was one of the biggest changes to DC marijuana laws, with the issuance of seveDCral new retail licenses including safe-use facilities, tasting events, and summer garden endorsement licenses.

By early 2024 there will be outdoor establishments in DC that will allow the sale, service, and consumption of medical marijuana in an outdoor private space. Initiative 71 was the law that allowed residents to smoke legally in their homes, but for the first time ever the Cannabis Amendment Act will offer new places to smoke medicinal marijuana legally in public, including Safe-use facilities and Summer Garden programs.

The Summer Garden program will allow private outdoor spaces such as gardens, courtyards, and rooftops to become designated areas in which you can buy medical marijuana and smoke it legally in public with other DC residents.

What is the Summer Garden Endorsement?

The Summer Garden Endorsement is one of the many new retail licenses being issued through The Medical Cannabis Amendment Act, signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser. This ABC Board license will allow cannabis business owners to sell medicinal cannabis and allow DC residents to smoke their cannabis in public for the first time.

The only requirement is you are a DC self-certify medical patient, and you are at least 21 years of age. If you are an out-of-state patient, there are currently 38 states that are offered DC reciprocity, so it’s likely your out-of-state card will be honored in DC to be able to attend any of these Summer Garden programs by early next year.

Summer Garden Dispensaries

While there is little revealed about what the Summer Garden Endorsement license will entail, all we know is that it will have the same rights as a medical dispensary with a “safe-use” facility. 

DC safe-use facilities are indoor, brick and mortar dispensaries in DC that have a separate and securely ventilated room for smoking marijuana for patients, set to launch by early 2024.

The Summer Gardens will allow the sales of medical marijuana, but the key difference is it allows you to smoke medical marijuana in an outdoor private space rather than an indoor space. It’s currently illegal to smoke weed in DC in public or any space in which the public is invited, so DC residents will finally be offered a nice outdoor environment where they can smoke weed legally.

The Summer Garden endorsement specifically focuses on private spaces, which constitutes environments such as gardens, rooftops, or courtyards.

Expect Live Entertainment

As part of the endorsement requirements, businesses must offer entertainment in the form of trivia, live musicians, or karaoke. This gives us an idea of what we can expect with the Summer Gardens, as it’s not only a place to buy medical marijuana and smoke it, but it will be a very community friendly environment with live entertainment.

The only other place to smoke weed in DC legally is at a “safe-use” facility, which allows the playing of music but not live performances and activities such as karaoke and trivia games. 

DC Cannabis Courtyard Events

The key focus of the Summer Garden license is the emphasis on “private space”. This allows many businesses that have courtyards to offer their space for medical marijuana patients to buy and smoke in public, because courtyards constitute as “private space”.

Similar to lounges like Rose Bar which has a stunning courtyard, soon you’ll be able to smoke a joint in some of DC’s most beautiful courtyards. While Safe-use facilities are meant more for patients to enjoy their cannabis, the DC cannabis courtyard events will be much more of a social mixer for cannabis enthusiast with live music, karaoke, and trivia.

DC Cannabis Rooftop Events

DC is home to many popular rooftop events, all of which are held on private property. These rooftop businesses will now be eligible to host a Summer Garden event where DC medical marijuana patients can buy medical marijuana and smoke cannabis on the rooftop.

You can enjoy a scenic view of Capitol Hill and smoke with local DC residents, all while enjoying live entertainment. 

Requirements for a Summer Garden Dispensary License

If you are a cannabis entrepreneur and are interested in obtaining a Summer Garden endorsement, there are a few requirements.

  • You cannot be within 300 feet of a school or recreational center
  • You cannot be in a residential district
  • Must have a valid business license issued before December 31, 2022
  • Have been in operation since December 31, 2022
  • Can prove that business taxes were paid to DC each year 
  • Cannot be within 400 ft of an existing retailer

Final Thoughts

The DC cannabis retail space is about to see some amazing and wonderful changes, as The Medical Cannabis Amendment Act of 2022 removes the caps on the limit of medical dispensaries allowed to operate within the district. New medical licenses will be issues not for dispensary style businesses but for cooking classes, safe-use facilities, online retailers, and summer garden events. In this article, we take a closer look at what we can expect with the new Summer Garden event endorsement. 

While little was revealed, we can get a strong sense that we will be seeing rooftop and patio clubs, where DC residents can buy and smoke cannabis while enjoying live entertainment like karaoke, trivia, and live music. While the Safe-use facilities are meant more for medical patients to smoke in a low-stress environment, the Summer Garden Events will be more catered to social interaction and entertainment while consuming cannabis publicly for the first time.