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DC Weed Laws: Understanding Initiative 71

On February 26, 2015, Washington DC weed laws changed forever with the passing of Initiative 71. 

I71 passed by a landslide in DC, allowing people 21 years of age or older to possess and use small amounts of marijuana.

Six years after its passage, however, people are still asking: “Is weed legal in DC?”

dc weed laws

The rules are a bit complex, so the confusion is expected. You’ll need to know the ins and outs of DC weed laws before you can feel safe buying from Initiative 71 compliant weed stores. 

Keep reading this breakdown to quickly understand the DC marijuana laws, I71 compliant weed dispensaries, and everything you need to know about buying high-quality weed in DC without any problems.

Is Weed Legal in DC in 2021?

So without the legal jargon, is weed legal in DC? The simple answer is yes! But the DC weed laws are not 100% clear without doing a little research. We’re here to resolve your misunderstandings. 

Initiative 71 is the law that was passed by Washington DC voters that specifically addresses the recreational, or personal, use of cannabis.     

Under Initiative 71, any person who is at least 21 years of age can possess and/or use marijuana.

This is wonderful news for DC weed smokers and medical patients, as well as tourists that need their marijuana! 

But there’s a catch. Even though weed is legal in DC, there are a few important rules to keep in mind to stay DC Initiative 71 compliant. 

Of course, there are rules and regulations to I71, as expected. But you must be careful with how you buy your weed in DC, as well as who you buy it from.

Not to worry, it is as easy as just using the right vocabulary at the right weed shop to buy weed and stay I-71 compliant. 

Continue reading below to learn more about what makes buying and selling weed in DC legal, and how to do so while following the I71 rules

Initiative 71 - The Gifting System

DC weed laws allow you to possess and consume weed on your own private property, but buying it is another matter entirely.

Initiative 71 allows for the transfer of weed from person to person — but forbids any kind of payment or exchange of goods and services. 

That means it’s legal to have marijuana, but it’s not legal to buy or sell anywhere in the District. So how do people get weed if they can’t legally buy it? 

That’s where the secret trick to buying Washington DC marijuana comes in. Using a loophole in DC marijuana laws, locals can safely buy and sell weed anywhere in the District.

This loophole in the DC weed laws gave birth to what we know as  “The Gifting System.”

So when someone asks the question: is weed legal in DC – you can understand that it is a very tricky question to answer.

initiative 71

Under I71 and the gifting system, nobody can sell you marijuana, but anyone over the age of 21 can still give each other up to an ounce.

Vendors can offer marijuana as a “gift” alongside the purchase of another product under the Initiative 71 DC marijuana law. 

This has led to a vast gifting market, where different vendors can sell stickers, posters, t-shirts, and more — while gifting different weed products. 

The key is finding stores that are trustworthy, offer high-quality products, and are I-71 compliant. 

Gifted Curators is one of the few cannabis companies that offers a simple and straightforward buying process. They are also I71 compliant and follow all DC weed laws! 

No matter what cannabis goodies and “gifts” you select, the prices are always fair and transparent. You can buy a digital art print and receive your choice of a variety of edibles and weed strains in Washington DC today!

Staying I71 Compliant

In order to safely and legally buy weed in DC and stay I71 compliant, you need to know how to ask for it. 

Instead of asking to buy weed, you need to first ask for the gift of your choice, like a sticker pack or an art print. This is key to remember as you are not buying 

Once you buy this item, you’ll receive your weed product as a gift. 

Any reputable DC weed dispensary will stress the importance of staying I-71 compliant and they will enforce the rules accordingly. 

Nothing to worry about, though, at Gifted Curators, we will walk you through the gifting process and make sure everything goes smoothly with our part of your DC weed experience.

I71 and the Penalties

Weed might be legal in DC, but that doesn’t mean you can’t face penalties for breaking the rules of DC Initiative 71.

DC initiative 71 states that if you’re caught smoking or consuming weed in public, you might face either a $500 fine or up to 60 days in jail. 

For selling marijuana without using the “gifting” system, you can face 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine for the first offense.

A business or restaurant that allows people to use cannabis could lose their license and certificate of occupancy if they are not I-71 compliant. 

And of course, people under the age of 21 cannot buy or possess marijuana in DC. If marijuana is found in the possession of someone under 21, police will seize the marijuana. If the person has more than two ounces, the person can also be arrested. 

With the complexities of DC Initiative 71, it’s important to be mindful of the different DC weed laws as a buyer or seller to avoid any trouble. We’ll break it down for you even more below.

DC Initiative 71 - The Essential Details

The gifting economy has opened up a whole new market of cannabis products, allowing anyone of age in DC to enjoy all kinds of weed products through I71. However, you still need to follow a few essential rules:

  • Only buy weed in DC from a store that you know is Initiative 71 compliant. 
  • If you are under 21, the gifting system and I71 will not be a solution for your weed needs.
  • Like any other substance, you can’t smoke in the car or drive any vehicles while under the influence under DC marijuana laws.
  • When you walk through the door of a reputable cannabis shop, like Gifted Curators, the staff will help you through the process. Still, it’s important that you use the right terminology. 
  • While you can possess two ounces or less of marijuana, I71 only allows you to smoke and consume in private residences. 
  • Additionally, DC weed laws make it illegal to smoke or consume marijuana in any public place or federal grounds.

DC Marijuana Laws - Selling It

By now, the answer to your question: “Is weed legal in DC?” is clearly a yes! You can possess and smoke weed, but what about selling it?

As mentioned before, locals are able to exchange weed in DC through the gifting system and that is how DC marijuana dispensaries are able to open and operate. 

But if you are not a local or if you are a resident wanting to be a “dealer,” Initiative 71 is not your pass to go ahead and sell. Selling weed is still illegal in Washington DC!

Of course, if you are a resident, you can give your friends and family up to 2 ounces of weed. And who’s to say they can’t do a favor for you out of the goodness of their heart sometime. 

So for now, there are ways that people are doing it, but consulting your lawyer for further legal advice is recommended.

Is Marijuana Legal in Washington DC? - Growing It

In Washington DC, it is completely legal to grow, but if you’re growing your own weed, you’ll encounter some limitations.

Since pot legalization in DC, under Initiative 71, you can possess up to six plants (with a maximum of three mature plants at any given time). 

But in accordance with DC weed laws, you’re still prohibited from owning more than two ounces of weed. So even though growing weed is legal in DC, you have to be careful with how much you are holding.  

And when it comes to selling your own weed, selling or exchanging it directly is not allowed. To make the transaction legal, you’d need to gift someone up to one ounce of weed with nothing in exchange. 

So growing weed is technically legal in Washington DC, but you still must be careful with the amount you’re holding and what you do with it once growing is complete. 

Is Weed Legal in DC? - Bottom Line

DC weed laws can make things complicated, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy cannabis in Washington DC. 

So is marijuana legal in Washington DC? With the purchase of a gift from a safe and I71 compliant store, you could be just a few hours from lighting up a joint or enjoying an edible. 

That being said, finding quality Washington DC marijuana shops isn’t always easy. The simple truth is that there are a lot of vendors selling weed in DC —  but not many of them are reliable or trustworthy in following the rules of Initiative 71.

Some of them take advantage of the grey area in DC law to sell “reggies,” which is DC slang for low-quality weed. 

As a DC resident, I’ve come across my fair share of disreputable weed vendors. Thankfully, Gifted Curators is setting the record straight with a transparent, safe, and trustworthy buying experience. 

Ready to see the best cannabis experience that DC has to offer? Take a look at I71 compliant our shop to explore our selection of flower, edibles, and pre-rolls — or come visit us in person to see for yourself.