In 2014 Washington D.C. voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, however, it did so with some strings attached. Knowing the dos and do nots of D.C. Marijuana laws can potentially help those who grow and use the substance avoid violating the strict laws that regulate the growing popular plant.
Is it legal to own or use marijuana in Washington D.C.?
Yes. As of February 26, 2015, residents of Washington D.C. will be able to possess and even transfer marijuana from one person to another, as long as both are over the age of 21. Additional restrictions also play a role in the normalization of the ever-popular plant-based drug. A person can own marijuana in Washington D.C. as long as the amount is no more than 2 ounces and is at least 21 years of age. Such a person can also transfer their marijuana, or gift it, to someone else in quantities not to exceed 1 ounce. The laws also allow for cultivation/growing of the plant in private residences with a limit of 6 plants per private residence with only three at a mature age for harvesting and usage at any given point.
Can you be arrested for marijuana possession in Washington D.C.?
Yes. Although the new laws have provided for a limited private use of marijuana in Washington D.C. the law still provides for certain offenses to be of the arrestable kind. The selling of marijuana in Washington D.C. is still illegal in any amount and so is possessing more than two ounces of marijuana at any given point. Additionally, as with any controlled substance such as alcohol, it is illegal to operate any kind of vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Smoking marijuana or carrying marijuana paraphernalia still remains illegal when done in public or in public spaces. Those under the age of 21 found to be in possession or using marijuana paraphernalia are still subject to arrest as the law does not provide for anyone under the age of 21 to use the substance.
What is the difference between State and Federal Marijuana laws?
The Federal government has yet to decriminalize the use or possession of marijuana. Although Washington D.C. has done so and has made it legal to use and possess within the restriction discussed above such use and possession is still a federal crime warrant to arrest by federal agents. However, in December of 2020 the House of Representatives in Congress voted to decriminalize possession and use of marijuana, the closest such a bill has ever made it to becoming actual law. Whether this will change under the new Biden Administration will depend on the Senate. Until then, marijuana remains an illegal substance under federal law and can lead to arrest and prosecution by federal law enforcement even though it is legal in Washington D.C.