Cannabis 101 // November 16, 2020 // Leisan Gibson

What Do the Weed Laws in DC Really Mean?

What Do the Weed Laws in DC Really Mean?
I-71 legalized cannabis in DC — for the most part. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about DC marijuana laws. In February of 2015, Initiative 71 went into effect, and cannabis users all over the city were thrilled. It meant goodbye to the days of anxiously walking around with a couple grams of weed in your pocket, glancing nervously at any police officer you might pass. It meant you could walk down the street with your little joint, on our way to your friend’s house, stress-free. As it should be!

Confusion in the Capital

Besides excitement, I-71 evoked something else in DC residents: confusion. We wanted to know: what exactly are the rules? Can anyone have it? Can I just have as much weed as I want, and smoke it anywhere we feel like? Can I grow it myself? Can I sell it? As these questions swelled in the cannabis community, it seemed like everyone had different answers.

Here's the Deal With Initiative 71

This is a breakdown on the restrictions still imposed on marijuana in DC under Initiative 71:
  • The user must be at least 21 years of age — sorry, 18-year-olds!
  • Despite all our hopes and dreams, I-71 does not permit a person to have as much marijuana as they want. You are legally allowed up to 2 ounces.
  • You cannot smoke anywhere you want. You can smoke on personal/private property only.
  • You can grow your own, but only up to 6 plants and only 3 of them are allowed to be mature at one time
  • You cannot sell it.
The last point causes the most confusion for people, because what I-71 does allow is a transfer of marijuana from one person to another (as long as it's an ounce or less!). So we can give it away, just as long as it is not in exchange for something else: not for money, product, or service. Here is a post that covers how to acquire some top shelf bud safely, explaining what to do, and even more important, what can get you in trouble, and lot's of it.

Steps in the Right Direction

While the initial thrill of Initiative 71 being passed has been dulled by the restrictions it still imposes, I-71 is still a huge step towards shifting the legal status of marijuana to where we want it to be, and it should be regarded as such. The DC cannabis community is happy with the progress we’ve made regarding marijuana laws, but we have to keep the ball rolling until the law catches up with society. Because it will. And when it does, we can release all of the people unfairly imprisoned over outrageous laws, and they can begin the process of healing from the corrupt, biased institution that is the prison industrial complex. In the meantime, we can do our part by voting in local elections, on issues that we care about. Keep an eye on what’s happening in your local government, and make your voice heard.