How I bought legal weed in Washington, D.C. (commentary)
How I bought legal weed in Washington, D.C.
Tom Wrobleski | [email protected]
Shouldn’t be difficult, right?
On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., I wanted to see how easy it was to buy legal recreational marijuana.
Because these days, who doesn’t need to blaze a little bit in the nation’s capital, right? But it turns out that scoring weed wasn’t as straightforward as I thought.
Washington Post photo by Sarah L. Voisin
In 2014, D.C. residents voted to legalize the recreational use of weed by a vote of 67 percent. Medicinal weed had previously been approved.
Washington Post photo by Charles Ommanney
Smokable and edible too
Possession of up to two ounces is legal. So you can smoke it. Or eat it baked into cookies, brownies or other edibles. You can grow it yourself. Yay, right?
But you can’t buy or sell it. Congressional lawmakers opposed to legalization put a rider in a 2014 budget bill that prevents recreational marijuana from being commercially sold in the district. So that means you can’t just walk into a store and buy marijuana products, like you can in Colorado, Oregon and other places. It also can’t be smoked out in public.
So D.C. potheads and so-called “ganjapreneurs” have had to be crafty in order to come up with alternate ways to distribute and acquire marijuana. Not “buy” and “sell,” mind you. That’s against the law.
So I did a little research on the way to the district to see how a tourist would get a hold of marijuana in Washington. How do you buy weed if it’s not legal to sell it?
Washington Post photo by Michael S. Williamson
“Puff, pass and paint”
I found you can go to a dance or arts-and-crafts parties where smokables and edibles are sold by vendors. The Washington Post likens these events to marijuana farmer’s markets. There are also other events, like “Puff, Pass and Paint” parties, where folks paint and blaze. You have to bring your own weed, though.
Washington Post photo by Sarah L. Voisin
For medicinal purposes too
D.C. also has relatively loose medical marijuana regulations, meaning that doctors can very easily prescribe it for just about any ailment or condition. So more people can take advantage of it.
Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken
But among the most popular ways to get weed is to acquire it when you buy other items, such as artwork, juice or apparel. Just buy the item, and they’ll throw in a couple of buds or edibles as a “thank you” or “bonus” for purchasing their product. Remember, gifting weed to someone above the age of 21 is perfectly legal in D.C.
A little pricey
But some of the stuff I saw for purchase online was expensive. The site District of C sells artwork and jewelry (with pot thrown in) for between $60 and $95. Another site called Red Eye offers six freshly baked chocolate chip cookies that contain no cannabis but offers a free gift on the side.
Tom Wrobleski | [email protected]
One of the best websites I found was called Pink Fox. They had an array of apparel you could buy, much of it in the $25 to $35 range. And they had a really good FAQ that answered a lot of my questions about the ins and outs of making the deal.
The Washington Post photo by Evelyn Hockstein
Making the connection
I sent an email and got a call from a guy named Mark (not pictured) shortly afterward. He told me that the delivery fee for anything was $100, which was out of my range. When I asked about coming by their store, he told me that Pink Fox doesn’t have storefronts. He said the service uses one of three Metro stations in town to meet customers: L’Enfant Plaza, Waterfront station and Federal Center SW.
Here’s the deal
Mark told me that the price for items was anywhere from $15 to $500, depending on how much weed would be included as a gift. He said I could get a drawstring backpack with some edibles in it for $20. I opted for the edibles because I couldn’t smoke in the hotel and didn’t feel comfortable slinking out alone to smoke a joint in an unfamiliar city. We agreed to arrange a meet-up the next day.
How I bought legal weed in Washington, D.C. (commentary) Advance collage How I bought legal weed in Washington, D.C. Tom Wrobleski | [email protected] Shouldn’t be
How To Get Weed in DC
Cannabis is legal in Washington DC but there’s no dispensaries like you’d find in Denver, Seattle, or Los Angeles. When the city passed Initiative 71, a rider was added to the federal spending budget that prevents the District from setting up a similar retail sales program. No worries, baby! I71 still allows adults to possess, grow, and share weed, so in the absence of licensed businesses, a private market of marijuana gifts bloomed to help you get weed in DC. Here, let me show you around!
I71 Weed-Gifting Services
Here’s the list of services that I currently recommend and promote here for high-quality gifts and dedication to customer service:
- Baked DC: Menu | Review | Website | 202-230-2463
- Street Lawyer Services: Menu | Review | 202-839-4200 | 409 H St NE Washington DC 20002
- Exotic Organics DC: Menu | Review | Website | 202-817-6725
- Peace In the Air: Menu | Review | 202-905-2330 | 2118 18th St NW Washington DC 20009
- Bagged Buds: Review | Photos | Website | 202-505-7619
- Gifted Curators DC: Menu | Review | 202-684-9915 | 2469 18th St NW Washington DC 20009
- Select Co-Op: Menu | Review | Website | 202-459-1401
- Green Kings DC: Menu | Review | Website | 202-570-4850 | Shrooms!
- Canamelo: Review | Photos | Website | 202-274-0298
- Lucky Chuckie: Menu | Review | Website | 202-424-8367
- Athena’s Gifts: Menu | Website | 202-749-0042
- Lifted Shop DC: Menu | Review | 202-332-8494 | 2622 Georgia Ave NW Washington DC 20001
- Puff Kings DC: Menu | Website | 202-792-9891
- Entourage DC: Photos | Instagram | 202-848-8781
- Heady Club DC: Menu | Review | Website | 202-460-8698
- Exotic Blooms: Menu | Review | Website | 202-317-9158 | Shrooms!
- Hidden Leaf DC: Menu | Review | Website | 202-750-3194
Five Ways to Get Weed in DC
There are five ways to get weed in DC that don’t require a medical marijuana card (if you don’t include growing it yourself). You don’t need to be a DC resident, either! Some brands may offer more than one of these options. I’ve sorted my favorite brands by type and gift availability on the Menu Directory to help you find what you’re looking for fast!
But if you’re like me and nothing but the best marijuana will do, then check out my weekly Reviews instead! Every gift featured is available at the time of posting and has personally been inspected and approved for quality by yours truly.
Storefronts are the closest you’ll get to a dispensary experience without a medical card in DC. These typically do not require an appointment, so you may encounter a line, but you’ll have time to peruse the gift display and ask questions. Often hosted inside a smoke shop or CBD store, but there are exceptions. Lifted Shop DC, for example, is located upstairs from ListenVision Studios at 2622 Georgia Ave NW (open from 12-8pm everyday!)
A Pick-Up is when you meet the brand at a private indoor location, like a hotel room, apartment, or AirBNB, and typically requires an appointment. It’s similar to a storefront otherwise, as you’ll have time to ask questions and check out their selection of cannabis gifts before choosing what you want. 1-2 hours in advance should be enough time to secure an appointment, but setting your appointment the day before is a good idea, especially if you’re tight on time. BakedDC is a popular Pick-Up brand (open from 10am-10pm everyday!)
Delivery brands send your gift to a location of your choice. In my experience, the average time is between 1 and 2 hours, so make sure you’re going to be in one place for at least two hours if you go with delivery- or set an appointment in advance the day before! Also note that they cannot deliver to federal property, like the National Mall. Exotic Blooms is a classic example of a Delivery brand (open 9am-7pm everyday! Text or call 202-317-9158 to make an appointment).
Meet-Ups are like a delivery, but the brand tells you the location, which will usually be in front of a coffee shop or restaurant. This is great for visitors unfamiliar with the city, but you could also just ask a regular Delivery brand to suggest a place to meet. I’m sure most will accommodate that sort of request. Since they’re functionally the same as Delivery, I have included them in that category. Select Co-Op primarily offers Meet-Ups.
Pop-Ups, otherwise known as Events, typically have several brands with table displays of weed gifts set up inside a bar, restaurant, or nightclub. Their frequency has waned as police have raided many such events in recent years. FYI, there’s been a Social Use Ban that went into effect, like, a month after I71 kicked off. Here’s the FAQ I wrote about what you can expect at these marijuana pop-up events.
Getting Weed in DC- Coronavirus Update!
During the ongoing pandemic, some Pick-Ups and Storefronts are offering curbside pick-up instead of letting people inside. Curbside Pick-Up is functionally the same as Meet-Ups, above.
How Do I Get Shrooms in DC?
The District of Columbia just passed Initiative 81 which makes entheogenic plants like psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and ayahuasca the lowest priority for law enforcement. It does not decriminalize/legalize these substances, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find it! Exotic Blooms has added One Up Chocolate Mushroom Bars to their menu and Green Kings has a few options, too. Expect more to come!
Where Can I 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. The fine is pretty small ($25) so long as you’re on DC-owned land and not federal land (like the National Mall). But if you’re like me and would rather avoid any potential hassles with Johnny Law on your visit, here’s a few options to consider:
Lucky Chuckie Tours will pick you up and drive you around the Nation’s Capital while you enjoy their flower-infused treats. Book them for a romantic evening with your special someone around the city, the National Harbor, or visit Butler’s Orchard for a day of apple-pickin’ and hay rides, along with some of Lucky Chuckie’s signature edibles.
Visit Lifted at 2622 Georgia Ave NW and rent time in their Hot Box, a private lounge next to their in-house cafe of infused treats. No weed? No problem! Lifted’s I71 storefront is right across the hall. You can book your appointment (in 15 or 30 minute increments) in advance online if you’re on a tight schedule!
Planning a longer visit and want a place to stay where smoking weed is explicitly allowed? Go on to AirBNB, then filter by House Rules -> Smoking Allowed. You’ll find several properties from single rooms to entire houses that will welcome traveling stoners with open arms and, in some cases, fat doobies.
What is Initiative 71?
In Washington DC, thanks to Initiative 71, adults 21+ are allowed to:
- Grow up to 6 marijuana plants, only 3 of which may be mature (“flowering”) at a time
- Possess up to two ounces in public
- share up to one ounce with another adult 21+
- But you can’t sell it
- And you can’t smoke it in public, either; if you’re caught it’s a $25 fine.
- (You can actually go down to the station and get your weed back if you’re caught smoking in public with less than two ounces. Strange days, indeed.)
- This only applies on DC-owned land. Cannabis is still federally illegal and around 30% of DC is federal property, like National Parks & government buildings (map) but also federally-subsidized housing
So the way many I71 marijuana-gifting services get around the restriction on sales is to sell something else, like tee-shirts, hats, juices, digital art, lunchboxes, all kinds of stuff, then give you a bag of buds as a free thank you gift. You do not have to be a resident and you don’t need a medical card!
Still have questions? Here’s the DC Weed Delivery FAQ page.
FYI, there are few other sites out there that can help you find buds, but I can’t vouch for the reliability or quality of anyone not on this site. Should you wish to step off the Gentleman’s lighted path, you can check out 420dc.com, LeafedIn.org, WheresWeed DC, and Marijuanas.org. Be careful with anyone that asks you to pay using an app or Bitcoin or anything you can’t reverse in advance as a First Time Customer! Rip-offs are rare but it is the Wild West out there, pilgrim.
How to Get Medical Weed in DC
Want to get your hands on lab-tested products? DC’s medical marijuana program started accepting patients for any condition whatsoever thanks to emergency legislation enacted in 2015. They started accepting out-of-state medical cards in 2018. Your Gentleman, naturally, has some opinions:
Maryland’s medical program has been going strong- visit my Ultimate Guide to Marijuana in Maryland for more info! Want more info on getting your medical marijuana card in DC, Maryland, or Virginia? Why, I’ve got a page just for you, my fine friend, step right this way. More reviews? Oh, Beauregard, you flatter me! Right here under the Medical tag.
Grow Your Own Weed in DC
If you consume a lot of cannabis, growing your own is definitely a consideration. A single adult can grow up to 6 plants in Washington DC, only 3 of which can be mature at once (which I presume to mean ‘flowering’). Here’s the rules on growing your own at home. If you do choose to grow, the local head shops and hydroponic shops are a great place to find seeds, sometimes even clones. Check out DC Seed Exchange to find packs from the hottest new micro-breeders!
CBD Shipped to Your Door!
Have you heard about the benefits of a sexy little cannabinoid called CBD and want to try it out yourself? There’s brick and mortar shops opening up all over the city since the last Farm Bill legalized hemp as well as a bazillion online companies that’ll ship to you anywhere in the US.
I really like District Hemp here locally- you can find my reviews of their products here and here. They ship anywhere in the US and they’ve got store locations in DC, Leesburg, and Manassas! Here’s their website.
Get Outta Town!
The Gentleman is also an avid ganja tourist. You can find marijuana reviews here of products I picked up from a Dispensary while traveling in Denver, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and adding more all the time, God bless America.
How To Get Weed in DC Cannabis is legal in Washington DC but there’s no dispensaries like you’d find in Denver, Seattle, or Los Angeles. When the city passed Initiative 71, a rider was added to