Is marijuana legal in the District of Columbia?

I recently moved to Washington, D.C., joined our East Coast practice group, and was overwhelmed by inquiries about the legal framework for recreational cannabis (IE, Marijuana and marijuana). Therefore, in view of this overwhelming interest, I would like to briefly summarize this issue for readers.


In November 2014, Washington, DC residents passed by an overwhelming majority Initiative 71, This is a voting measure designed to legalize the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana by residents over 21 years of age.

However, within a few weeks of passing the marijuana voting initiative, Republicans in Congress tried to repeal the law by including a rider in the rider. 2015 Consolidation and Further Sustaining Appropriations Act This prohibits school districts from using any funds to make legislation to tax and manage marijuana. According to federal law, Congress must review all legislation passed by the council (considering it as equivalent to the legislation of the Washington State legislature) and, after the vote has passed it, pass any referendum approved by the voter. In addition, Congress retains authority over the school district’s budget. Therefore, if Congress wants to influence affairs in the region, it will usually do so by amending unrelated legislation (such as spending bills).

However, district officials, including the district attorney general and mayor Muriel Bowser, announced that members of Congress will not prevent the legalization of marijuana promulgated and certified by the election committee before Congress passes the spending bill.

As a result, the school district inherited a “gray market”, and local businesses began to engage in “gift economy” activities, which included selling items unrelated to cannabis at a mark-up price and providing cannabis as supplementary gifts in the transaction. This legally dubious business practice stems from a clause in Act 71, which stipulates that anyone over the age of 21 “transfers (but does not sell) up to one ounce of marijuana to another person over the age of 21 without compensation. It’s all legal…”

Therefore, although there are no more cannabis-related arrests in the country’s capital (given that 2013 report The American Civil Liberties Union (ACC) revealed that the District of Columbia has the highest arrest rate among all counties in the country, and blacks are nine times more likely to be arrested than whites. Selling marijuana is illegal.

To address this persistent problem, local legislators have recently introduced Comprehensive Cannabis Legalization and Control Act of 2021This is a comprehensive bill. If passed in the current version, it will establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for the production and sales of recreational marijuana, but at the same time, it will also repair the damage caused by past criminal law enforcement and invest in the most harmful marijuana. Communities to solve social equity issues. The war on drugs is achieved through fair access to new markets. Since the implementation of the bill on March 1, no action has been taken.


The region has not yet promulgated laws or regulations related to cannabis, which means that it does not authorize or regulate the production of cannabis or cannabis-derived products, including the sale of cannabis resin (CBD). Therefore, even though “CBD stores” are spread all over the city, these products are still illegal.

In short, the region expressly prohibits commercial sales of recreational cannabis products. This means that the vast majority of products sold and “gifted” in the city are unregulated and therefore may not be safe for human consumption. In addition, although these activities may seem tolerable, they still expose local businesses to the risk of enforcement actions by local and federal agents. Things to consider before entering this market.

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