6In Growing Marijuana in Washington, D.C. – DC Cannabis State Laws (2021) we gave a brief overview on how Washington DC residents can apply to their state’s medical marijuana program. Recreational marijuana is legal in the District but if you are a patient with a debilitating condition, there might be a few reasons why you would still want to get a medical marijuana card.
- Overview of Medical Marijuana in Washington DC
- Why should you get a marijuana card in Washington DC
- How to get a medical marijuana card in Washington DC
- Frequently Asked Questions on Getting a Washington DC Medical Marijuana Card
Overview of Medical Marijuana in Washington DC
In 2010, the Council of the District of Columbia passed a bill which legalized medical marijuana in Washington DC. Previously, DC voters approved Initiative 59, also known as “Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998” but its implementation was delayed by the Barr Amendment which prevented the program from being funded. The Barr Amendment was eventually overturned in 2009.
You can read up on Washington DC’s medical marijuana rules here: § 7–1671.02. Use of medical marijuana, B18-0622 – LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT INITIATIVE AMENDMENT ACT OF 201
DC’s medical marijuana now allows patients to possess up to two ounces and purchase up to eight ounces within a rolling 30-day period. Medical marijuana is allowed in the form of flowers, concentrates, edibles, transdermal products, seeds, and seedlings. They may also cultivate up to 6 plants but only 3 may be mature at a given time.
Washington DC is known for its lax marijuana culture which allows “gifting” of small amounts of marijuana. This may be why DC, unlike other states, does not have a list of qualifying conditions. Instead, it is up to the physician to determine if the patient’s condition qualifies for medical marijuana.
Patients under the age of 18 may also apply to Washington DC’s Medical Cannabis Program as long as they do it with the help and permission of their parents or legal guardians. They are also required to have at least one caregiver and get certified by two Certifying Health Care Providers, one of whom must be a pediatrician or pediatric specialist.
Those who wish to apply as a primary caregiver in Washington DC must be at least 18 years of age and must not be the patient’s Certifying Health Care Provider. Applicants should never have been convicted of drug possession or sale unless the conviction happened after the effective date of the Act (July 2010) and was a possession of cannabis allowed under the Act. Patients may designate up to two personal caregivers but a caregiver may only provide assistance to one patient only unless they are the patient’s immediate family member.
Why should you get a marijuana card in Washington DC
Even though recreational marijuana is legal in Washington DC, sales are still prohibited. However, this hasn’t stopped the black market in the state from operating. At present, only medical marijuana dispensaries are legally allowed to sell to registered patients.
How to get a medical marijuana card in Washington DC
Applying to the medical marijuana program in Washington DC is fairly simple and can be done completely online or sent via mail. If you are qualified and would like to apply, here are the steps you should follow:
For patients, minor patients, and caregivers
- Consult with a healthcare provider licensed in Washington DC to issue a certification. You may get this certification from a DC Physician (MD, DO), Advanced Practice Registered Nurse / Nurse Practitioner (APRN/NP), Dentist, Physician Assistant, or Naturopathic Physician. If you are qualified, you will be issued a completed Electronic Healthcare Practitioner Recommendation Form. This should be submitted within ninety days after being issued.
- Make sure you have a copy of the following:
- Proof of DC residency (DC DMV ID, voter’s registration card
- 2 passport-type photographs
- A completed Caregiver form if designating one
- Choose whether to submit your Patient Application or Minor Patient Application via mail or online application. To submit online, just click on the type of healthcare provider that issued you your certification on the ABRA Medical Cannabis Patient page, fill out the required information and upload your documents. You can also mail your filled out application form to this address:
Currently, Caregiver Applications may only be submitted by mail.
The cost of registering into Washington DC’s is $100 for patients and caregivers and can be paid online or by check or money order. However, you may request to have your application fees reduced by submitting proof of financial hardship. Once approved, your medical marijuana card will be sent within 3 to 4 weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions on Getting a Washington DC Medical Marijuana Card
Having a Washington DC medical marijuana ID card is the only way minor patients in the state with a debilitating condition will be able to legally use medical marijuana.
Patients in Washington DC who have at least one qualifying condition may apply for a medical marijuana card.
A medical marijuana card is the only way minor patients with a debilitating condition can use cannabis in Washington DC . Getting a Patient card is also the only way any patient can buy from a dispensary.
It can take the Washington DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration 3 to 4 weeks to send your medical marijuana card after reviewing your application.
Registered patients in Washington DC may grow up to 6 plants but only 3 may be mature at the same time.
Washington DC’s medical marijuana now allows patients to possess up to two ounces and purchase up to eight ounces within a rolling 30-day period.
If you’re a patient in Washington DC who needs marijuana for your condition, applying for a Patient Card is a good option if you need to buy more cannabis legally. While you can be “gifted” up to two ounces of recreational marijuana, this may not be enough for some conditions. A medical marijuana card in the state costs $100 and although this will allow you to buy marijuana in other states that have a reciprocity agreement with DC, it is still a bit expensive unless you will also apply for reduced fees.