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

Washington, D.C. residents may qualify for a medical marijuana card. Give our guide a read and find out if you are eligible. Patients must meet certain criteria and conditions.
State Program
Approved on
JANUARY 1, 2011
Online Application
MD Evaluation
Card Validity
Patient Registry fee
(202) 442-5955
Official Gov Site:


  • $100+




  • YES


  • 18


  • Glaucoma
  • Cancer
  • 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

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 an MMJ card in Washington, D.C.? No! Even though adult-use cannabis is technically permitted, you can’t legally purchase it! That is potentially about to change, but for now, 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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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 an element of legal protection from overzealous law enforcement, and you can buy from a licensed dispensary.

Also, you can use medical marijuana when you turn 18. Minors can only apply with a caregiver. Recreational cannabis is only available to those aged 21+. There are other benefits that you will discover in the final section.

In any case, here’s how to get your Washington, D.C., medical marijuana card.

Step 1 – Book an Appointment with a Licensed Physician

There are several options in DC. Firms such as Capital City Care and the Metropolitan Wellness Center (MWC) help get you in touch with doctors they have a relationship with. For instance, MWC gives you the names and addresses of five ‘marijuana-friendly’ physicians and claim these doctors’ appointments cost 50% less than the average. However, you’re supposed to have a ‘bona fide’ relationship with the doctor.

There are also companies such as Veriheal that enable you to consult a doctor online. This type of appointment takes around 15 minutes for the doctor to evaluate your ailments and answer any questions about cannabis treatment. If you opt for an online consultation, make sure you have your medical records ready for uploading.

In both instances, the physician will ask questions and ascertain whether cannabis is a viable medical treatment for your condition.

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)

Also, D.C. recently announced that residents aged 65+ could self-certify that they will only use marijuana bought from a dispensary within D.C. for medical purposes. They can do this instead of having to get a doctor’s recommendation. Such individuals are required to complete a Patient Self-Certification Form. This initiative is set to last until at least September 2022.

Step 2 – Complete & Submit Your Application

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:

  • 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 are different from a dentist’s approval.

If you encounter difficulties with the application form, ask a local dispensary for help. Make sure you send your application as soon as possible. The DOH doesn’t accept written recommendations made more than 90 days before the date of application.

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 – Wait!

After registering with the DOH and submitting your form, you must wait. 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.

After you receive your MMJ card in the mail, you can legally purchase cannabis from any licensed dispensary in D.C. Applications are reviewed in order of receipt on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis.

What Are the Washington, D.C. Medical Marijuana Costs?

It costs $100 to apply for the MMJ card in Washington, D.C. 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.


  • That 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 for the physician’s consultation. The card is valid for a year. 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 recommendation. Also, it costs $90 to replace your card if you lose it.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington, D.C?

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.

In addition, you should start the renewal process at least 60 days before your card expires.

Other Information on the Washington, D.C. 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.

How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?

MMJ patients can purchase up to eight ounces of cannabis across a 30-day rolling period. However, the maximum possession limit is two ounces. You can buy marijuana flower, edibles, concentrates, seeds, seedlings, and transdermal products. In contrast, recreational users can only possess a maximum of two ounces.

How Much Marijuana Can I Grow at Home?

You are also allowed to grow up to six plants, although you can only have three ‘mature’ plants at home at any given time. The maximum yield is eight ounces of usable marijuana produced from the plants. This limit is only applicable to anyone entered into the MMJ authorization database. Otherwise, the maximum is four plants and six usable ounces.

If a doctor decides that a qualifying patient requires more than the legal amount, they can recommend a maximum of 15 plants yielding up to 16 ounces of usable marijuana.

Related article

Where Can I Use My Marijuana?

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.

Where Can I Buy Marijuana?

Licensed medical dispensaries in D.C. include:

  • Takoma Wellness Center
  • National Holistic Healing Center
  • Capital City Care
  • Anacostia Organics
  • Kinfolk Dispensary
  • Rise
  • HerbaFi

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! Another benefit of being an MMJ patient is that you can go to the dispensaries listed above and buy marijuana more easily than a recreational user.

Can I Get Marijuana if I Am Not a D.C. Resident?

Yes! D.C. 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.

How Do I Register as a Caregiver?

If you need assistance using or obtaining medical marijuana, you can designate a caregiver. 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 four ounces of marijuana in the 30-day rolling period and possess a maximum of two ounces.

Final Thoughts on Getting a Washington, D.C. MMJ 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 four ounces. Just make sure you don’t use it in public or anywhere near federal property!

This remains the situation until the roadblocks preventing adult-use cannabis are removed. There are indications that this could happen before the end of 2022.

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