How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington, D.C.

Overview
Washington, D.C. residents may qualify for a medical marijuana card. The District recently made it much easier to get an MMJ card for adults aged 21+ who can now self-certify. This means they can apply online without getting a doctor’s recommendation. Give our guide a read and find out if you are eligible.
State Program
Approved on
JANUARY 1, 2011
Online Application
Yes
MD Evaluation
Required
YES* *ONLY FOR PATIENTS AGED 20 AND UNDER APPLICANTS AGED 21+ CAN SELF-CERTIFY
Card Validity
24Months
Patient
Registry Fee
$100
Phone:
(202) 442-4423
Official Gov Site:
abra.dc.gov

CONSULTATION FEE RANGE

  • $100 – $150

MMJ PURCHASING LIMITS

  • MAXIMUM PURCHASING LIMIT OF 8 OUNCES IN A ROLLING 30-DAY PERIOD
  • THE MAXIMUM POSSESSION LIMIT IS 4 OUNCES

HOME CULTIVATION?

  • YES

MINIMUM AGE LIMIT

  • 18

Few places have had such a circuitous route to medical marijuana legalization as Washington, D.C. Despite being legalized in 1998, it took 13 years for D.C. residents to have legal access to MMJ. Fast forward to 2015, and Senate Bill 5052 was passed, establishing official state regulations for the production, possession, sale, and use of MMJ.

November 2014 saw the legalization of recreational cannabis via a voter-approved ballot measure known as Initiative 71. It went into effect in February 2015.

Does this mean you don’t need a Washington, D.C. medical card.? No! Even though adult-use cannabis is technically permitted, you can’t legally purchase it! That is potentially about to change, but if you want to buy marijuana legally in D.C., you need an MMJ card. Keep reading to find out how to get one.

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Washington, D.C. Medical Marijuana Laws

Adults aged 21+ can legally possess up to two ounces of marijuana and grow a maximum of six plants. The possession of more than two ounces without an MMJ card is a misdemeanor, which could result in a six-month prison term. You could spend a similar amount of time in jail for selling up to half a pound of weed.

medical marijuana card washington dc

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington, D.C.

While recreational marijuana is technically legal in the district, you can only buy it via the unusual “gifting economy.” It is illegal to buy it directly from a store. Instead, you purchase another item, like a t-shirt or bumper sticker. Then, you receive cannabis that is “donated” by the vendor rather than being sold.

Apart from this, there are several other advantages of attaining an MMJ card. Primarily, you have legal protection from overzealous law enforcement, and you can buy from a licensed dispensary.

Also, you can use medical marijuana when you turn 18, although minors can only apply with a caregiver. Recreational cannabis is only available to those aged 21+.

There was a huge change to the District’s MMJ laws in June 2022. The D.C. Council passed emergency legislation permitting adults aged 21+ to “self-certify.” As a result, prospective MMJ patients can apply to the program without needing a doctor’s recommendation. They must now sign a form confirming that they have a medical need for marijuana.

It is great news for licensed dispensaries, who have been losing customers due to the aforementioned gifting economy that has taken over DC.

Therefore, the following information regarding getting a doctor’s certification only applies to applicants aged 20 and under. However, you must still complete the online application process if you are 21+.

Step 1 – Get in Touch with a DC Healthcare Provider

There are several options in DC. Many firms get you in touch with doctors they have a relationship with. However, you’re supposed to have a bona fide relationship with the physician.

In D.C., the following types of medical professionals can provide you with the written recommendation:

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Dentist
  • Naturopathic physician
  • Physician Assistant
  • Physician (MD, DO)

Step 2 – Register with the Official DC Medical Marijuana Program

If the physician approves you as a medical marijuana patient, you will receive a Physician Recommendation Number. Please keep this number safe because you need it to register with the District’s Department of Health when completing your Patient Application Form. Aside from the electronic number, you need the following:

  • A federal or D.C. government-issued photo ID or one issued by another state government. A valid D.C. driver’s license is usable as proof of residency. You can also use a passport.
  • Overall, you need two types of proof of residency. Please note these two documents can’t be of the same kind. For instance, you can’t have cable and utility bills.
  • Your Social Security Number.

The forms you must complete are different depending on the source of your recommendation. For example, the documents you get after receiving a doctor’s approval differ from a dentist’s.

If you encounter difficulties with the application form, ask a local dispensary for help. Make sure you send your application as soon as possible.

You also have the option of submitting a paper application. Send it to the following address:

899 North Capitol Street

NE 2nd Floor Washington, DC 20002

Attn: Medical Marijuana Program

Step 3 – Visit a Dispensary

After registering with the DOH and submitting your form, you must wait. However, you will be emailed a temporary digital registration you can use to purchase marijuana immediately. This registration is effective for up to 30 days while your application is under review.

It will send a confirmation of receipt email if you apply online. The DOH will send a second email outlining payment options within three business days when your documents are reviewed. Finally, you’ll receive two further emails once the application is fully processed.

You will receive an MMJ card in the mail and a digital registration if approved. You can use either the digital or physical registration at licensed dispensaries.

Who Can Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in DC?

You can apply for a medical marijuana card in DC if you’re 18+ and have a qualifying medical condition. The District also permits non-residents to purchase MMJ.

Cost of MMJ Card in DC

The medical marijuana card cost in DC involves a $100 application fee. However, you could benefit from a reduced fee of $25 if you can supply proof of the following:

  • That you are a current Medicaid or DC Alliance recipient.

OR

  • Your gross income, including rent payments, alimony, child support payments, and any other income received regularly, is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.

You will also pay approximately $100 – $150 for the physician’s consultation. The card is valid for two years.

DC MMJ Card Qualifying Conditions

The list of DC medical marijuana card qualifying conditions includes:

wol-article-mmj-in-washington-dc-2

  • Glaucoma
  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Severe/persistent muscle spasms such as those in diseases like multiple sclerosis
  • A chronic condition that “ordinary” medical measures can’t treat
  • Any situation where medical marijuana treatment is possibly beneficial
  • You may also qualify if you undergo medical treatment such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy
  • Any condition for which treatment with medical marijuana would be beneficial, as determined by the patient’s physician

How Long Does It Take to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in DC?

Applications are reviewed in order of receipt on a first-come, first-served basis. The DOH says it processes applications within 30 business days. Most MMJ patients say they receive their card in the mail in 3-4 weeks. However, the processing time is increased if you submit an incomplete form. Remember, you receive a temporary digital registration that allows you to buy MMJ.

How to Renew My Washington, D.C. Medical Card?

Once it is time to renew, you must go through the entire process again. This includes the $100 application fee and the cost of the doctor’s certification if aged 20 and under. You should start the renewal process at least 60 days before your card expires.

Other Information on the DC Medical Marijuana License Process

Hopefully, you will find it relatively easy to get your medical marijuana card in Washington, D.C. However, some prospective patients may need further clarification, so we have answered a few FAQs below.

What Types of Cannabis Can I Purchase in DC?

You can buy marijuana flower, edibles, concentrates, seeds, seedlings, and transdermal products, among other things.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in DC Online

For adults aged 21+, the entire process can be completed online. If you need a doctor’s consultation, you can do so online with services such as Veriheal and Leafwell. This type of appointment takes around 15 minutes as the doctor evaluates your ailments and answers any questions about cannabis treatment. If you opt for an online consultation, ensure your medical records are ready for uploading.

Can I Register My Child for Medical Marijuana in DC?

Yes. Parents or legal guardians of applicants aged 17 or younger must complete and submit a Minor Medical Cannabis Patient Application. It must include a healthcare recommendation number and a registered caregiver. Also, applications for minors must be emailed to medicalcannabis@dc.gov or mailed to the North Capitol Street address outlined earlier.

Where Can I Purchase MMJ in Washington, D.C.?

Here is a list of the available medical dispensaries in D.C.:

  • Takoma Wellness Center
  • National Holistic Healing Center
  • Capital City Care
  • Anacostia Organics
  • KINFOLK Dispensary
  • Herbal Alternatives
  • Cannabliss

Overall, D.C. has relatively few MMJ dispensaries. Then again, the district’s entire landmass is only 158.1 square kilometers, so you’re never too far away from one!

How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?

MMJ patients can purchase up to eight ounces of cannabis across a 30-day rolling period. A measure signed by the mayor in October 2022 increased the possession limit for MMJ cardholders to eight ounces. In contrast, recreational users can only possess a maximum of two ounces.

medical marijuana card washington dc

However, the mayor’s bill has not yet passed a Congressional review. Until it does, MMJ patients can still only possess four ounces of marijuana.

Can You Grow Marijuana in Washington, D.C. with a Medical Marijuana Card?

You can grow up to six plants, although you can only have three mature plants at home at any time. The maximum yield is eight ounces of usable marijuana produced from the plants.

Where Can I Use My MMJ?

You can only use your cannabis in a private residence. If you use it in a public place, you will get arrested! When using marijuana in D.C., be very careful where you are.

The federal government controls 29% of the region’s landmass. The feds strictly enforce cannabis prohibition on their property. This includes military land, national parks, Rock Creek Park, and the National Mall. Those found in possession of cannabis in a federal place face severe penalties. Having an MMJ card doesn’t save you in this instance.

Also, bars and restaurants are shut down if violations of the marijuana law occur on their property.

Does Washington, D.C. Accept Out-of-State MMJ Cards?

Yes! DC has a broad reciprocity agreement. It allows patients from almost every state with a fully operational MMJ program to purchase marijuana in the nation’s capital. There are also states “under review” for addition later.

Furthermore, non-residents may soon be able to register for temporary patient registration (valid for 30 days) if they don’t have an MMJ card from a state with reciprocity. The mayor’s October 2022 bill includes a provision allowing non-residents to self-certify and avail of the 30-day registration. They can apply online if aged 21+ and pay a $30 fee. Even international visitors can avail of the registration.

What Are the Caregiver Rules?

You can designate a caregiver if you need assistance using or obtaining medical marijuana. Please make sure they are at least 18 years old. They can only provide care for one patient and purchase cannabis from one selected dispensary. The process involves:

  • Completing the Caregiver Application Form
  • Passing a Criminal Background Check
  • Providing two different proofs of D.C. residency
  • Payment of $100

Caregivers can buy up to eight ounces of marijuana in the 30-day rolling period and possess a maximum of two ounces. A caregiver card is only valid for one year.

What If I Lose My Medical Card in Washington, D.C.?

You must complete a Registration Card Replacement Form online and pay a $90 fee. The fee is reduced to $20 if you can prove your income is equal to or less than 200% of the federal poverty level.

When Did Medical Marijuana in Washington, D.C. Become Legal?

Washington, D.C. approved a medical marijuana ballot initiative called Initiative 59 in 1998. However, the passage of the Barr Amendment prohibited the District from using its funds to support the program. The Barr Amendment wasn’t overturned until 2009, and the first sales of MMJ occurred in DC in 2013.

Recreational weed became legal in January 2011, but to this day, sales remain illegal. However, the MMJ program is so lenient that getting your hands on marijuana is extremely easy if you’re 21+.

MMJ Card for Veterans in D.C.

Since applicants aged 21+ can self-certify, it is very easy for veterans living in DC to avail of medical marijuana. Simply complete the online application and wait for approval. Like everyone else, veterans will receive a temporary digital registration enabling them to buy marijuana from a licensed dispensary immediately. Out-of-state veterans are also welcome to travel to DC to complete the process.

Final Thoughts on Getting a Washington, D.C. Medical Marijuana Card

Although cannabis is recreationally legal in the District of Columbia, it is not permissible to buy or sell the substance! Instead, you need to participate in the absurd “gifting economy.”

You don’t have to worry about this issue if you have an MMJ card, and you can buy up to eight ounces. Furthermore, you can self-certify if you are 21+, meaning you don’t need a doctor’s certification when completing the application form.

Please ensure you don’t use marijuana in public or anywhere near federal property, as there are severe penalties for doing so.

Need a Medical Marijuana Card ?

Let us help by Starting Here
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