DC Cannabis Facts

Updated on December 8, 2017.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

The people in living in the nation’s capital were actually among the first to demand a medical marijuana program and, in 1998, 70% voted for a ballot measure authorizing it. However, as it is not an actual state, an unfortunate fact about medical marijuana in DC was congress’s power to simply nullify the popular decision, which it exercised to kill the measure.

More than a decade later, the City Council unanimously approved the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment. It was signed by the Mayor on May 21, 2010. Since neither the US House nor Senate moved to stop the law, it became effective 30 days later. While the city first promised to have an operational program by mid-2011, there was in fact almost no movement for a full year after the law was signed. Finally, In August 2011, the District of Columbia’s Department of Health began accepting applications for the 10 planned cultivation centers and five dispensaries that will supply the city.

Medical Marijuana Facts for the District of Columbia

  • The law allows Delaware patients to possess up to 2 ounces of dried marijuana but it must be purchased from a dispensary. As none are currently operational, any possession, even with a doctor’s recommendation is currently still illegal.
  • Currently, only cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma are specifically listed as qualifying conditions for a Delaware marijuana card.
  • Those seeking to run one of the cultivation centers or dispensaries must pay a $5000 fee simply to apply.
  • The 10 planned cultivation centers will be allowed to grow up to 95 marijuana plants each, however they will not be able to distribute any of the marijuana. That will be left up to the 5 dispensaries the city has said it will license.
  • Authorities are hoping to award licenses for cultivation centers by February 2011 and dispensary licenses by April 2012. Earlier promises to have the program fully operational by mid-2012 are unlikely to be met.


District of Columbia Marijuana Use Facts

  • Statistics from 2007 indicate that Washington DC had the highest marijuana arrest rate in the nation at 677 arrests per 100,000 residents.
  • It was estimated that there were 78,000 cannabis users in the District of Columbia that year.
  • Marijuana prohibition fact: According to estimates, marijuana arrests cost D.C. taxpayers more than $60 million per year.
  • Currently, any possession of cannabis is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • The rate of marijuana use in DC is the 3rd highest in the nation, as over 15% of the district’s population has reported marijuana use.
  • One of the more interesting medical marijuana facts for the District of Columbia is that despite the fact that African-Americans in DC use marijuana at a rate just 1.7% higher than whites, statistics show that they are arrested 8 times as much and account for 91% of all marijuana possession arrests.
  • Under the legalization amendment, DC residents were allowed to transfer up to an ounce of weed to someone else who is at least 21 years of age, as long as no sort of payment occurs or any type of exchange is made for services or goods.
  • Residents are allowed to cultivate as many as six marijuana plants on their property, but only three of them can be mature at any one time.
  • Residents can also possess bongs, rolling papers, cigar wrappers or other types of paraphernalia associated with weed — as long as they are associated with an ounce of pot or less.

If you would like more information regarding District of Columbia marijuana facts, check with MarijuanaDoctors.com often for updates.

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