DC Weed Lounges and Safe-Use Facilities - What to Expect 2023

When Mayor Muriel Bowser signed The Medical Cannabis Amendment Act of 2022, a whole range of new exciting endorsement licenses were offered for DC cannabis businesses in 2023 such as summer garden eventscooking classes, and safe-use cannabis facilities.

For the first time, Washington DC will have brick-and-mortar locations that offer anyone with a DC medical marijuana card to smoke and use cannabis-related products with other medical marijuana patients. In this guide, we go over what a safe-use facility is, and the fun things you can expect with this new license endorsement for the DC cannabis community in early 2024.

For recreational marijuana consumption lounges, I recommend you check out Elevated’s DC weed lounge.

What is a DC Safe-Use Facility?


A Safe-use facility will be similar to a licensed medical marijuana dispensary where you can purchase medical marijuana. Still, there will be a designated and secured consumption room within the dispensary for patients to use. The designated consumption area, known as a “safe-use treatment facility” is a separate room with its ventilation system and security, where adult medical marijuana patients 21 years old can smoke marijuana together in public space for the first time. 

With the passing of Initiative 71, DC residents could consume and possess small amounts of marijuana, but DC weed laws prohibit the use of marijuana in public spaces - until now. 

For the first time, we will have public spaces where we can consume cannabis in DC without fear of fines or arrest. DC weed events that usually allow public consumption of cannabis is held on private property at the risk of the establishment. The Safe-use facilities will finally give both DC residents and the establishment a safe place for marijuana consumption publicly. 

Here is what we know so far about the new “safe-use” facilities:

Cannabis consumption lounges are finally coming 

One interesting take about the safe-use facilities is they will be allowed to offer music and sell non-cannabis foods to customers. For the most part DC weed restaurants were private events that operated in the gray, but with the Safe-use facilities DC will finally have weed lounges where you can smoke, order food, and relax to music.


These cannabis lounges will not allow patients to consume alcohol or tobacco, only medical marijuana. Currently, there are thousands of DC residents who cannot smoke their medical marijuana at home due to non-smoking leasing agreements, so the safe-use facilities will finally offer a friendly space for medical patients to smoke weed. 

Until these facilities arrive, residents are often forced to smoke weed in public in DC at their own risk, due to non-smoking leasing agreements. While it’s exciting to finally have cannabis-friendly smoking facilities, there are a few rules that restrict what you can and can’t do in these facilities, which push these facilities to be less of a party environment and more of a relaxed lounge to smoke in peace. 

Here are the 5 rules of the new safe-use cannabis facilities in Washington DC:

1. You can’t bring your own weed

One of the nuances with the new Safe-Use endorsements is they do not allow you to bring your own cannabis to smoke. If you want to enter the safe-use treatment centers, you must first purchase medical cannabis from the retailer that hosts the safe-use facility. 

There are exceptions, as the law states “you cannot bring in cannabis that was not purchased at the retailer unless otherwise permitted by the ABC Board by rule making”. So we can expect ABC to offer avenues for medical patients to bring their own cannabis, but nothing was revealed about how you can do this yet.

2. No marijuana contest or games are allowed

Another key feature of the endorsement is retailers are not allowed to host any cannabis contests or games where patients consume cannabis or get rewarded for cannabis. Similar to a drinking contest at bars, which promotes excess use of alcohol, you can expect a much more relaxed smoking environment at these safe-use facilities. 

Paraphernalia such as blunts, wraps, bongs, and pipes will be allowed on the premises as well for patients to smoke their medical marijuana. 

3. Safe-monitoring 

All cannabis safe-use facilities will also have a smoke-free area where employees can monitor the safe-use treatment facility area. There will be cameras on sight that will record no more than 30 days worth of footage. 

First-time medical marijuana patients can safely consume cannabis, knowing there are professionals at hand to help you with their dosage, consumption, and experience when you need it. The safe-monitoring program will also help make sure you don’t leave and operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis, as DC cannabis DUI laws prohibits anyone to drive and operate a vehicle under the influence of cannabis.

4. Only Medical Marijuana Patients are allowed 

In order to enter into a cannabis “safe-use” facility, you must be 21 years or older and a DC medical marijuana cardholder. Currently, DC allows anyone to self-certify their medicinal marijuana needs (no physician note required). If you are an out-of-state medical marijuana cardholder, currently over 38 states are offering DC medical marijuana reciprocity, so it’s most likely your card will work in DC dispensaries. 

If you are not a MMJ cardholder, we recommend you check out our guide to the best DC recreational dispensaries which allow shopping without a medical marijuana card. Another alternative, if you want to skip the commute, is to order through any of the I71 DC weed delivery vendors as they do not require a medical marijuana card, only proof of age (21 years or older).

5. Ventilation System

To operate a “safe-use” facility in DC, Medical Dispensaries will need to install a ventilation system that directs the cannabis air from the treatment center to the outside of the building. The air must run through a pollution control unit or an odor control unit that eliminates all detectable cannabis odor.

While you can smoke weed in these facilities, we can expect a nice airy environment without all the lingering secondhand smoke. 

Final Thoughts

Huge changes are coming to the DC cannabis retail space, with the issuance of many new endorsement licenses from summer garden events, cooking classes, and the new safe-use facilities. From what we know so far, the laws push these facilities will play music and serve food, similar to a cannabis café or a weed lounge. The only downside is you can’t bring your own cannabis from home, you must purchase the marijuana at the dispensary that host’s the safe-use facility center.