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Recreational Marijuana in Washington State

TripSavvy / Rob Hadley

Washington visitors interested in using marijuana products should be aware of the details of the law regarding purchase, possession, and consumption. There are still significant restrictions on pot possession and use, as well as many practical details to be worked out about how the law will actually be implemented as many of Washington’s weed tourism services, are still being developed.

Washington State’s Initiative 502 (I-502), which decriminalizes recreational marijuana, was voted into law in November 2012. The law allows the creation of a licensed and regulated system of marijuana production and distribution, similar to the state’s liquor controls. However, I-502 does not preempt federal law. The production, distribution, sale, possession, and use of marijuana is still against and may be prosecuted under US federal law, and marijuana use is prohibited by many employers.

Keep in mind that in order to legally consume marijuana, you must be at least 21 years old. Here are some things Washington State visitors should know to stay on the right side of state law regarding recreational marijuana.

Buying Legally: Dispensaries and Shops

A few licensed retail marijuana shops are now open for business, with more opening all the time. These shops are devoted only to marijuana and marijuana products and will not sell anything else, but cannabis sampling or consumption is not allowed on the premises. Liquor stores, convenience stores, and other existing businesses will not be allowed to add pot products to their offerings.

If you’re looking for a dispensary, the easiest way to do so is to use the Leafly Store Finder app, which provides an interactive map to current marijuana retailers with detailed information about the various strains available in the shop. You can also check out the Washington State Liquor Control Board’s list of Issued Retail Licenses, which has the information for all marijuana license applicants, including the names, addresses, and phone numbers of active and pending retailers.

Where to Smoke: Private Property

When it comes time to actually consume your marijuana products, there are few places you’re legally allowed to do so in Washington State, despite the law allowing you to buy, possess, and use it. City and state laws prohibit use in the view of the public, so your best bet is to smoke on private property.

What this means, typically, is that you have to be in someone’s private residence and have permission to smoke. However, if you find yourself in a hotel that allows smoking in the rooms, you are legally allowed to smoke marijuana there.

How Much You Can Buy: Legal Quantities

If you are 21 years of age or older in Washington State, you will not be prosecuted under state law for the possession or use of:

  • One ounce of usable marijuana
  • Marijuana-related paraphernalia
  • 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product
  • 72 ounces of liquid marijuana-infused product
  • 7 grams of marijuana concentrate

Legal Terminology: Usable and Marijuana-Infused Products

When it comes to keeping track of your quantities, keep in mind that “usable marijuana,” “marijuana-infused product,” and “marijuana concentrate are all separate things.

According to I-502, “usable marijuana” refers to the dried marijuana flowers. Vaporizers also referred to as vape pens or vapor inhalers, have become popular “smokeless” ways to consume marijuana but still require “useable marijuana.”

On the other hand, marijuana-infused products (both solid and liquid) are defined by I-502 as “products that contain marijuana or marijuana extracts and are intended for human use.” This could include things that you eat or drink, like baked goods, candy, or sodas. The Washington State Liquor Control Board maintains a list of the weed-infused products that are currently approved.

Whether you're a weed tourist or just curious about the legality of pot in the state, this guide will help you understand marijuana laws in Washington.

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

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!)

Pick-Ups

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

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

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

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:

Marijuana Tours

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.

Cannabis Lounges

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!

420-Friendly Lodging

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.

The #1 source for weed in DC! Discover Initiative 71 marijuana dispensaries, weed delivery services, and cannabis personally curated by GT.