Marijuana is “legal” in Washington, DC…What EXACTLY Does That Mean?

marijuana is legal in DCAll around the nation, a buzz is growing louder as more and more state begin to legalize marijuana.  However, every state has a different take on what exactly legalization means, and Washington, D.C is certainly no exception.  As far as D.C. marijuana law goes, legalization takes on an entirely different meaning compared to other states such as Colorado and California.

In Washington, DC it is now legal to;

  • Possess two ounces or less of marijuana;
  • Grow within their primary residence up to six marijuana plants, no more than three of which are mature;
  • Transfer one ounce or less of marijuana to another person as long as the recipient is 21 years of age or older; and no money, goods or services are exchanged. :
  • Consume marijuana on private property.

Purchasing/Selling is Still Illegal – While it’s legal for you to imbibe cannabis, it’s still not legal to buy or sell it.  D.C. residents will be allowed to have up to 3 mature plants in their homes.

Decriminalized– Because marijuana has been legalized, being found in possession is no longer a criminal act, now resulting in a civil fine instead.

What Else does it Mean?

The flip side to the legalization of Marijuana in the District of Columbia, is that DUI laws will be reevaluated.  Part of the push that occurred with the decision for legalization is to treat marijuana similarly to alcohol, in particular when it comes to being under the influence either in public or behind the wheel.  Similar to drinking, being under the influence of cannabis while driving will still be subject to the laws of impaired driving.  It’s important to understand that even though it’s now been legalized, being found driving under the influence of marijuana can come with the same serious consequences that being under the influence of alcohol comes with. It’s important that you have an understanding of these laws before you make a decision to imbibe and then drive.

The exact process as to how law enforcement will determine if someone is under the influence of marijuana remains unclear. Often, when substances other than alcohol are involved, a drug recognition expert (DRE) who has been trained in the recognition of other substances.  The role a DRE and the methods used for testing for inebriation will continue to take shape as time goes on.

On our next post, we will address whether marijuana really can get you a DUI in Washington, D.C.

About Andrew Alpert

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.