How To Get Weed in DC
If you're looking to buy weed in Washington DC, you've come to the right place. At Gentleman Toker, we’ve spent years scouring the city for the best places to buy top-quality, safe, and affordable weed in DC. Check out our complete guide on how to get weed in DC below, and be sure to read our full reviews to find the best option for your unique tastes.
Best I71 Compliant Weed Gifting Brands
If you already know the ins and outs of the DC market then you can jump right in, since The Gentleman has helpfully compiled this list of his favorite I71 compliant DC recreational weed brands for you! These brands have all been vetted for professional service and quality gifts by yours truly, so you can feel confident choosing any of these to peruse. If you want to learn more about the Washington DC weed laws, scene, or specific types of establishments (physical stores, delivery, or pick-ups) use the links to jump ahead!
Weed Laws in DC
Disclaimer: Gentleman Toker doesn’t provide legal advice. Check with a lawyer to be certain of your rights to grow, buy, carry, and consume weed in our nation’s capital.
What Is Initiative 71 (I-71)?
If you want to know why buying weed in DC can be so complicated these days, it all goes back to Initiative 71 (I-71). The ballot measure, officially known as the Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Initiative of 2014, passed with an overwhelming majority and went into effect the following year. However, after I-71 legalized the possession of marijuana, Congress quickly placed a rider on the annual budget that banned the commercialization of cannabis.
While the sale of recreational marijuana remains illegal, there’s a bit of a gray area when it comes to giving it away as a gift. This has led to the so-called gray market of weed shops in DC. These shops sell items or experiences other than weed, but just so happen to give weed away as a free gift with your purchase. Neat!
So does DC have recreational dispensaries? Well, according to the law, it doesn’t. For now, I-71-compliant shops are the closest thing to a weed dispensary that DC is going to get.
It may have happened in a roundabout way, but I-71 has quickly created a thriving market for cannabis in DC. However, it can be a bit different if you’re not used to it. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide on how to buy weed in DC.
Does This Mean Weed Is Legal in DC?
The short answer is yes. Recreational marijuana in Washington DC is legal to possess, consume, and gift—though, in order to use weed in DC, you must be over the age of 21 and only do so on private property. Also, you are only allowed to possess two ounces or less at a time.
Residents can buy their DC weed with a medical card or obtain it through the gifting system. Federal regulations or legislation may allow for Washington DC recreational weed dispensaries to open in the future, but for now, we just have I-71.
How DC Marijuana Gifting Stores Work
The way many Initiative 71 marijuana-gifting services get around the restriction on sales is to sell something else, like a T-shirt, some juice, or a piece of digital art. Then they’ll hand you a bag of buds as a free thank-you gift.
You don’t have to be a DC resident, and you don’t need a medical card. This is the only way to get legal recreational weed in DC in 2023 since we still don’t have licensed dispensaries.
Is taking advantage of the gifting loophole legal? The answer very much depends on who you ask. We’re gentleman tokers, not gentlemen lawyers, so we can’t tell you for certain. The best we can give you is a very confident “sort of.”
Not everyone agrees that cannabis gifting is legal in DC. There are several members of the DC Council who have made it clear they consider this market to be wholly illegal, and the DC Metropolitan Police Department has conducted raids on these businesses with some frequency throughout the last six years.
But what you really want to know if you’re buying weed in DC is whether you can face legal consequences as a customer, and that answer is a very technical “maybe.” It hasn’t been fully tested in court, so nobody can say for certain, but we’ve never heard of that happening to anyone since it was legalized. Hopefully, that can set your mind at ease. But if you’ve got more questions, we’ve got more answers.
How to Get Weed in DC Legally
Option 1: Follow The Current DC Gifting Process
Weed gifting is a practice where weed gift shops sell you an item (T-shirt, art, or sticker) and give you marijuana with the purchase. Gifting weed can be done in different ways. For example, you could buy an entry ticket to an event that comes with a gift of weed, or you could purchase a ticket to a raffle with weed as one of the prizes.
How to Ask for Weed in DC
You definitely can’t walk into one of the I-71-compliant shops in DC and say “Hi, I’d like to buy some weed.” That would be illegal. What you can do is ask what item you’ll need to purchase to receive a certain strain of weed as a gift.
Option 2: Get a DC Medical Marijuana Card
DC's medical marijuana program has been accepting patients for any condition whatsoever thanks to emergency legislation enacted in 2015. The DC Department of Health started DC Reciprocity in 2018 and now accepts patients from a whopping 28 states, including: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
Recently, the DC Council has greatly expanded the ability for both residents and tourists to self-certify their need for medical marijuana. A new law that was unanimously approved by the DC Council (and is currently pending congressional review and mayoral approval) would provide a pathway for I-71-compliant shops to become licensed medical dispensaries.
Where to Buy Weed in DC
Best I-71 Weed Dispensaries
When marijuana was legalized in DC, new vendors were popping up all across town. The best recreational dispensaries in DC should offer safe and timely services, quality cannabis gifts, and be Initiative-71-compliant businesses. This means gifting only to adults 21 years or older and never directly selling cannabis.
Right now, these businesses are the closest you’ll get to a recreational marijuana DC dispensary without a medical card. We’ve also found that brick-and-mortar DC cannabis stores typically make a great effort to remain I-71-compliant. They don’t take appointments, so you may encounter a line, but you’ll have time to peruse the marijuana gift displays and ask questions. Over the years, the “gifting loophole” has become a simple, reliable way to get weed in DC.
Weed Delivery in Washington DC
DC weed delivery brands will bring your gifts anywhere you’d like. In our experience, getting weed in DC this way takes about one or two hours, and you can expect an estimated delivery time from most delivery services these days. Some services will even let you set a delivery appointment in advance, an awesome feature to save time for the busiest of bees!
One very important note: You will not be able to have recreational weed in DC delivered to federal property, like government buildings or the National Mall.
How to Order Weed Delivery
Once you’ve picked a great store for weed delivery in DC, you can browse through their selection to find the right product for you. Most websites that sell weed in DC will give you specific instructions on how to make an I-71-compliant purchase. Once you do so, just set your delivery instructions and wait for your driver.
Delivery will likely take between 40 and 70 minutes, and you may need to drive five minutes or so to meet your driver at a designated safe zone, depending on the business. Remember, always be sure to check your product with the driver before they leave. Once they’re gone, it can be hard to make a return or settle a dispute.
Weed Pickup in DC
Some DC dispensaries offer a pickup option in which the customer meets the business at a private location, like a hotel room, apartment, or Airbnb. These services typically require an appointment and should be set up at least one or two hours in advance. Similar to physically going to I-71 recreational dispensaries in Washington DC, pickups allow you to ask questions and take your time checking out their selection of DC cannabis gifts.
DC Weed Events
Because of the thriving DC weed culture, there are plenty of ways to celebrate cannabis in the city. One of the best ways to find DC cannabis meetups is through social media. Make sure to follow your favorite DC dispensary to keep up with the latest news of cannabis events they may be sponsoring, attending, or sharing. Event hosting sites like Eventbrite will also keep you updated on DC weed events.
Weed Pop-up Shops
In addition to awesome weed events in DC, there are also plenty of pop-up shops or markets that come through town. They come and go fast, so keep your eyes on social media and Eventbrite.
How to Find the Best Weed in DC
Do your research! You can check out online forums, reviews, recommendations, websites, social media, and everything else under the sun—or you can just check with the experts at Gentleman Toker. We’re here to share the many years of research we’ve already done on how to find weed in DC.
Best DC Weed Strains of 2023 (So Far!)
We post weekly updates on how to find weed in DC, including our connoisseurs' picks for sativas, indicas, value, and designer weed that you'll want to get before it's gone. These are some of the most recent highlights.
Some of the best weed in DC comes straight from the grower, and there are plenty that are happy to share their strains. DC’s medical marijuana program puts out some fire, too. Alternative Solutions’ Panama Red comes immediately to mind.
XJ-13 from Giving Tree
Jack Herer is both a staple for longtime smokers and a favorite for newcomers. XJ-13 is an offshoot of the classic that crosses Jack Herer with G-13 Haze, and this example from Giving Tree DC is prime.
This indoor flower is fresh and dense in resin development, and it’s expertly grown. The scent is a blend of sweet zesty skunk from Jack Herer with a bit of bitterness and pine on the back end. The flavor is a perfect blend of coniferous tang and peppery zest that truly coats the mouth on inhale.
The effect is potent and energizing, as expected from the cross, and also quite refreshing on the come-down. Overall, this sample will make sativa lovers very happy and is available in an eighth with the purchase of a $70 gift.
Waffles from Legacy DC (by 4Hunnid)
Backed by rapper YG, 4Hunnid hit the scene hard with their YG OG and Bompton Berries collaborations with Backpack Boyz. They continued to make waves with Bompton Cherries, which was featured in Winter Za-Lympix at Green Wolf. It’s speculated that these cultivars share lineage with releases from Grandiflora Genetics, but that hasn’t been substantiated (nor do we know the genetics behind Legacy’s sample of Waffles).
We do know the Raw Genetics version is Apple Fritter mixed with Stuffed French Toast. Despite the mysterious lineage, this version of Waffles is an elite example of the sour candy scent that comes bursting with flavor. The sample burns beautifully in a joint and isn’t at all throaty. Its powerful potency sets in quickly and feels like a blast of euphoria and relaxation.
Whatever the genetics, it’s killer in every way. Waffles is a must-try for lovers of strong smoke and candy flavors who are looking for the best weed in DC. It goes for $90 per gift for an eighth.
Blue Bacio from Elevated Lounge
Sunset Sherb and Gelato 41 have been popular crosses among enthusiasts for the better part of the last decade. Sunset Sherb’s deep purple hue, tart flavor, and potency hit the scene like a tsunami before Sherbinski (the original breeder) crossed it to Thin Mint Cookie to kick off his Gelato project.
Blue Bacio is Gelato 41 crossed with Blue Sherb, and out of all the Gelatos and Sherbs we’ve tried, this one is for sure in the higher echelon. The eye appeal, scent, flavor, and potency are dialed to 11. The nug is quite large and bulbous with a manicured trim. It’s almost neon green in hue and quite resinous which makes the nugs sticky and shiny. The cultivar hits you in both the head and body with a sense of urgency followed by a wave of stoney chill.
Overall, this is one of the most potent samples we’ve received from Elevated Lounge and something that we recommend for seasoned smokers and smokers that want to vibe all day. You can pick up four grams of Blue Bacio with a $65 gift.
Best DC Edibles of 2023 (So Far!)
If you’re interested in edibles, Washington DC is home to many talented cannabis chefs that make all kinds of tasty, infused sweets and savories, including full-spectrum and distillate-based options. We personally lean more towards full-spectrum edibles these days because we feel it delivers a more enjoyable and organic experience. But if exact dosage is important to you, then you can't beat distillate.
Full-Spectrum Brownies from Athena's Gifts
It’s rare to find weed edibles infused with marijuana flower these days since it’s far easier to ensure accurate dosages with distillate. Our preference is for flower-infused edibles, as the experience tends to be a lighter, brighter, and more “organic” high. Athena’s Gifts honors these ancient ways, so when the gentleman tokers want to get thoroughly stoned, it’s what we reach for.
Athena’s Gifts has a fantastic edibles menu of cookies, cereal bars, and brownies alongside a rotating specialty selection, including cheesecakes! All of it is made fresh locally. They also make infused juices and tinctures.
As always, if you’re new to weed, start slow and gauge your tolerance. If you’re a daily smoker, you might want to smoke something along with it to get a boost from the edible that leaves you unmistakably higher than your baseline. Trust us, it works great! You are welcome.
Leveled Gummies from Adose Wellness
Adose Wellness is a solid new addition to Washington DC’s weed edibles scene! Their core menu features some unique takes on crisped rice treats, like Churro and Strawberry White Chocolate, along with a wide selection of gummies to satisfy the sophisticated palate of any candy connoisseur.
Aside from their perfectly balanced flavor, the texture on these gummies is better than store-bought. Adose Wellness’ infused treats use marijuana distillate that allows them to categorize the products by potency and cannabinoid profile, and they’ve got a chart that explains much better than we can.
We ended up taking 60mg THC from half a dozen Level 4 Sour Watermelon gummies, then supplanted that with a single Raspberry Level 2 (7.5mg of CBD, 2.5mg of THC) before quickly falling asleep on the couch. We tried again with just 30mg and had a nice, manageable buzz for the next couple of hours.
THC + CBD Gummies from Puff Kings
Puff Kings typically offers impeccably crafted gummies, chocolates, cake pops, Rice Krispy treats, and brownies. Every so often, they come up with something truly unique, like infused buffalo sauce in the summer and infused cornbread kits in the fall.
What we like most about Puff Kings’ edible selection are the many options that include a combination of THC and CBD in the same product, which eases the weight of a THC-only edible high, making it a more relaxing and long-lasting experience. It’ll still help you sleep at night, but it won’t knock you out in the middle of the day at responsible dosages.
In our experience, this synergy is also better at relieving pain and anxiety. Some research indicates CBD acts against the side effects of THC, like memory loss. Puff Kings even offered giveaways of their CBD-only edibles throughout the pandemic. Great folks, great products—what’s not to love?
MOTA Distillate Tincture
Don’t let the fancy new packaging with the candy skulls fool you—the MOTA brand of edibles has been around since the early days of I-71. They’ve been supplying this city with some of the most consistently potent products around. We’ve tried just about every type of their locally-made distillate-based edibles, and they all work: the hard candies, the gummies, the rice krispy treats—you name it.
Their tincture, however, is the best we’ve had anywhere. Tinctures added to a drink function like an everyday edible, with a typical onset between 25–60 minutes. You can also take a tincture sublingually for a faster onset (which means under your tongue if you don’t feel like googling it).
When we tried a sublingual application with MOTA’s tincture, we were high AF in five minutes, but it subsided after only a couple of hours (ingested edibles usually last much longer). Mercifully, MOTA tinctures do not burn, so you can keep them under your tongue long enough to get every precious molecule of THC in your bloodstream.
These days, you can find MOTA edibles at almost every storefront in town. We know for a fact that All the Buzz keeps them in stock!
Jackpot Distillate Gummies
Jackpots are vegan, gluten-free gummy cubes that you’ll find in some of the most popular I-71-compliant shops like Gifted Curators, Legacy, and Peace in the Air. They come in brightly illustrated jars of 20, weighing in at 20mg of THC per piece, so you end up with 400mg.
We had the chance to try these out four ourselves recently. We had a seven-hour Amtrak ride, popped two-and-a-half Jackpot gummies for a total of 50mg, and, within an hour, zonked out and caught up on some much-needed sleep. We woke up about 90 minutes later feeling fine, with no lingering oogey-ness. That’s how you know you’ve got your dose right—you don’t wake up drained and fog-brained. Jackpots, baby!
How Weed Laws May Be Changing in DC
If you’re a fan of DC’s cannabis gifting market (the ubiquitous I-71 storefronts and delivery services that arose when Congress interfered with the city’s plans to become the first city on the East Coast to legalize adult-use sales of cannabis), then you need to know about the important new legislation that is set to change everything.
An amended version of the Medical Cannabis Amendment Act passed in a unanimous vote by the City Council on December 20, 2022. It will provide a pathway for these businesses to become part of Washington’s existing medical cannabis program by expanding the number of licenses and license types available.
In the same stroke, this new law will allow the city to harshly penalize any businesses that do not attempt to comply or remain active after failing to receive a license after the enforcement date begins (November 2023).
Let the Gentleman level with you: This is an absolute win. I’m sure a lot of folks would rather keep things exactly as they’ve been since 2016, but in my mind, that was never a possible outcome. The city has made numerous attempts to crack down on the I-71 shops over the last couple of years, and they’ve had to deal with intermittent raids by the Metropolitan Police Department since year one. A true path to licensure under the auspices of the same medical cannabis program that has been clamoring to shut them down is the best deal on the table, and I encourage everyone operating in the space to take it!
All I can say for sure is that 2023 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for cannabis in the Nation’s Capital, and I am here for it. Gentleman Toker has been here since the very beginning of the I-71 market, from the seed shares to the protests, from the pop-ups to the retail shops, and now, going on the seventh year of this website, I get to watch it change again into something beautiful and new. Pull up a seat, old friend, and we’ll watch together. Cheers to the future.
Will DC Ever Allow Recreational Marijuana Licensing?
Several scenarios would allow the district to set up the taxed and regulated adult-use cannabis market it wants. Each is implausible in the current political climate, which is why the brands facing extinction are hoping to move to the medical market.
Scenario 1: DC Statehood
The best, most coveted scenario is that DC receives its long-deserved statehood. There are over 700,000 people that live in our nation's capital that sit outside the halls of its government like war orphans outside the USO. They have no representation in the hallowed halls of Congress save for the non-voting (i.e., powerless) seat that is perennially held by Eleanor Holmes Norton.
DC becoming a state is unlikely because the city is a Democratic stronghold, so granting them statehood gives congressional Democrats two additional Senate seats, plus commensurate House seats. You'd have to convince Republicans to willingly shoot themselves in the foot. However, it is a worthy cause to support in the unlikely event Democrats pick up enough seats to pass it themselves.
Scenario 2: Remove the Harris Rider
The second option is the removal of the budget rider that has plagued Washington DC's green ambitions since its inception. This is the scenario that the DC council and mayor were hoping for once Democrats took control of both halls of congress. Alas, we would soon learn there is simply no political motivation for the Dems to help DC establish cannabis sales. As reported by Martin Austermuhle, reopening negotiations with Republicans on this budget rider would reopen other riders for discussion, and there simply isn't enough juice to make it worth the squeeze here.
Scenario 3: Federal Legalization
The last hope to bring licensed, adult-use dispensaries to DC lies in federal legalization. The MORE Act just passed the House, but it has become obvious that its social equity provisions will not receive Republican support, so it won't pass the Senate in its current form. As we have been blogging about cannabis since 2016, we can tell you that federal legalization is tantalizingly close, yet somehow remains as far away as ever.
Find Even More of the Best DC Weed Dispensaries with Gentleman Toker
For more info on how to get weed in DC, be sure to check out our directory. It has the full breakdown of DC dispensaries, including delivery and pickup services.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Much Weed Can I Carry in DC?
You can have up to two ounces of weed on you at any given time, as long as you’re at least 21. Just don’t smoke it on any federal land or other spots where weed in DC is banned.
Can Tourists Buy Weed in DC?
Tourists can absolutely buy weed from I-71-compliant shops in DC. Many of our capital city's 24,000 yearly tourists already take advantage of the legal cannabis laws here, and you can, too.
The only requirement to buy weed in DC is that you must be 21 or older. If you're in for multiple nights, delivery services are happy to deliver to your hotel, and there are storefronts in just about every trendy neighborhood. There are even some 420-friendly Airbnbs around. Heck, if you have a medical card in your state, DC's medical program offers reciprocity to every other state's program, so you're set if you want to visit a DC medical dispensary while you're in town.
As a tourist, you want to be careful not to smoke cannabis on federal land, which is illegal. This includes the parks, National Mall, and most waterfront areas, as well as federal buildings. But DC does have some great places to explore after you’ve got a buzz going.
We also have to point out that you can't bring weed with you over state lines legally. That means you can't bring your weed home with you, even if you live in a legal state or have a medical card in another state. This is especially important for Maryland-based daytrippers, as legalization for adult-use possession of cannabis doesn’t kick in until July 1, 2023. Until then, the people of Maryland can only take heart in the fact that decriminalization for possession has been expanded to under 1.5 oz.
Is the Weed in Washington DC Good?
Weed quality varies, but we’re pleased to report that we regularly find fantastic flowers from home growers, medical marijuana dispensaries, and I-71-compliant shops in DC. Some of our favorite strains come from I-71 gifting shops and delivery services, which often feature the same designer buds you’ll find from the West Coast, including Gelato and Zkittlez off-shoots. If you know how to find weed in DC, you’ll be able to get your hands on Wonderbrett’s Orange Sunset (at Gifted Curators), Cookies’ Gary Payton at Exotic Organics), a fabulous run of Miracle Alien Cookies (at Natural Vibes), and many more.
Is DC Weed Lab Tested?
As of today, there are no third-party laboratories within DC’s city limits that have the equipment to perform safety-based lab testing for I-71-compliant shops in DC or medical dispensaries.
Through our own research, we’ve found that lab results, even in licensed cannabis markets, are fraught with errors. More evidence comes to light daily to show that lab-tested weed is a marketing gimmick.
The Problems with Weed Lab Testing in the USA
First off, the labs aren't funded by the state; they’re funded by selling testing services to licensed growers. This gives bad actors an incentive to falsify the results to make these cultivators happy.
For example, one of the major drivers behind customer purchase decisions is THC percentage. Thus, the higher the THC they can put on the package, the better it will sell. Then, much like sports and steroids, those that provide accurate results underperform in the marketplace, meaning they have to cheat just to stay even.
Second, no two states share the exact same list of chemicals they test for or the allowable percentage of each. With the lack of federal guidance, each state has been left up to its own devices.
Finally, even under the best of intentions, these labs are often staffed by inexperienced and under-educated workers who are under pressure to push through as many tests as possible every single day. We've heard equipment manufacturers boast of more than 90 per day.
Why Isn't Initiative 71 Weed Lab Tested?
Washington DC is a small city with very limited land in which to grow. Meanwhile, California has ample room to grow, a crowded marketplace, and oppressive taxes for those that wish to operate legally. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of weed in DC comes from California and other states that end up with a surplus of cannabis (just like Oregon had a couple of years ago).
On the East Coast, Maine is putting out the majority of the fire these days, but don't knock our neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia. Some of the best locally-grown cannabis flower available in DC is grown just outside the Beltway.
Some of it, for certain, is grown right in Washington DC by our talented marijuana artisans. More and more, we're seeing limited drops at I-71-compliant shops in DC featuring the best home growers in the city.
Almost none of it is lab-tested, and even if the brand hands us a Certificate of Analysis from out of state, we’re disinclined to accept it. We trust our noses and sense of taste to judge cannabis, and here at Gentleman Toker, that's exactly what we want to teach you how to do. This website isn't about being some stuffy, pretentious, holier-than-thou kind of stoner. We are about empowering you, dear reader, with the tools you need to evaluate cannabis yourself.
DC Medical Dispensary Lab Testing
As we said at the start, to date, no DC medical marijuana has ever been tested by a third-party lab within the city for safety. Whether they sent something out the backdoor to another state is possible, but unlikely.
Up until now, the only third-party testing that has been done is for cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Some of the cultivators do perform their own in-house testing, but this is unreliable under the "We've investigated ourselves and found nothing wrong" doctrine of modern meme law.
However, the city did issue two licenses for companies to operate labs last year. Our hunch, as the longest-tenured cannabis bloggers in the city, is that these were issued when DC leadership anticipated the removal of the Harris rider. With recreational cannabis sales nowhere on the horizon now, we suspect these licenses will never see use. Why?
The DC Council always intended for there to be third-party lab testing for its medical marijuana program. The problem is that their patient base is too small for any lab company to operate profitably here. Steep Hill had its foot in the door but walked away years ago. With adult-use sales again looking like a distant pipe dream, we expect the awardees will allow their licenses to lapse without ever setting up shop here in the nation's capital.
Where Is It Legal to Smoke Weed in DC?
You've successfully got weed in DC—congrats! Now, where do you smoke it?
Legally, you're not allowed to smoke weed in public in DC. The fine is pretty small ($25) so long as you're on DC-owned land and not federal lands like the National Mall, large parks, most waterfronts, government buildings, and federal housing.
Most folks, ourselves included, just light up and smoke while we're walking down DC's eclectic blend of residential streets. The trendy commercial strips like M St and 18th St are usually fine in the evening, and you won't find many Debbie Downers stepping outside of a bar or club at night. But you might catch some side-eye from indignant pedestrians if you’re trying that during the daytime. It's better to step off the beaten path.
Most hotels in DC lack balconies, and we don't recommend tourists try to smoke in their rooms. That being said, lots of hotels have rooftops or smoking areas where smoking a bit of cannabis won't be amiss. You could also book with a smoke-friendly Airbnb and eliminate worry entirely.
As with every other legalized state in the US, you aren't allowed to smoke it in your car, even if someone else is driving or the car is turned off. Don't risk it!