When dc marijuana first launched, residents could buy medical weed at a handful of dispensaries regulated by the city. But the program was never fully implemented because Congress inserted a rider in the federal budget—the so-called Barr Amendment—that blocks DC from taxing and selling recreational marijuana. And so residents must rely on “gifting” shops and a burgeoning delivery market to access the drug.
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DC lawmakers have signaled they’re ready to establish a regulated adult-use market once Congress lifts the prohibition on local sales. But even with this support, it’s unclear how many residents will actually have the money to pay for legal pot. Especially since marijuana is still illegal to transport across state lines, and you can’t take it out of the country.
The District’s marijuana laws have always strayed from full legalization. Despite the fact that adults can legally possess two ounces of cannabis and cultivate six plants in their homes, the only way to buy marijuana is through gifting or at one of dozens of pop-up events that occur in bars, restaurants, private residences and even churches. These events are popular and can get crowded. But police have cracked down on some of them and arrested vendors.
And, if you live in DC public housing, you can be evicted for using marijuana at home. And even if you have a valid medical marijuana prescription, you can’t work for any company that sells or serves marijuana, and you can’t travel with the drug, either.