Unless you’ve been hotboxing a cave for the last year, you know that marijuana is now sort of legal in Washington sometimes. When voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 71 in 2014, many hoped the District would become America’s next Denver-like marijuana Mecca. But alas, since the law went into effect last February, Washington has been stuck in a strange state of semi-legalization. If the District’s convoluted marijuana laws and their implications seem confusing to you, you’re not alone. They are. Lesser publications like the Post and the Kojo Nnamdi Show Blog have written their own short, conventional lists of frequently asked marijuana questions, but they leave too much unanswered. So in the name of the public good, Stuck in DC has put together a more comprehensive list of FAQs. Here’s everything you need to know about marijuana in Washington:
So, marijuana is legal in the District?
Yes, in the same way sex is legal. You can do it in your own home, but not in public or in clubs and bars. And you certainly can’t buy or sell it.
But I can possess it?
Yes, you can have up to two ounces.
Is that enough to get high?
Absolutely. And if it’s not, you need to contact a specialist immediately.
Wait, there’s actually a business that charges you for explaining how to smoke? That’s gotta be fake, right?
It’s real. The D.C. School of Mary Jane conducts private workshops that instruct new and prospective marijuana users on the basics of getting stoned, such as how to acquire and operate a lighter, how to pack a bowl, and how to speak with newfound perspective about how everyone and everything is connected. Lessons cost $100 plus $35 for each additional attendee.
Who the hell would need lessons on how to get high?
The only people who really need marijuana smoking instruction are probably teenagers. But paradoxically, the D.C. School of Mary Jane only conducts workshops with those over the age of 21. It’s like operating a driving school exclusively for lame baby boomers who should have learned how to drive forty years ago.
So I can smoke in my living room, but not on my sidewalk. What about on my roof?
The law is silent on that point, but you probably don’t want to get that high before you get high. The come down could be very unpleasant.
Does the law permit me to grow my own marijuana?
Yes, you’re allowed to grow three mature plants. No more and no less.
So I can have and grow weed, but I can’t buy or sell it. Can I barter and trade it?
Yes, but typically only for fleeting social status.
Am I allowed to give away marijuana?
Yeah, if you’re a fucking saint.
What if I gave you a bag of weed in exchange for a donation?
No need to wink. That was the premise of Kush Gods, a local business that sold edibles out of luxury vehicles on H and U Streets for “donations” of ten dollars. But they got busted and shut down by the police, because apparently selling weed is still illegal even if you sort of pretend like you’re not selling it.
That’s too bad, I could go for a weed brownie. Will there be a second coming of Kush God?
The faithful believe that one day Kush God will return to U Street to proclaim the good news on high. But like that rabble-rouser Jesus, they’d probably just get arrested again.
Is it legal to get high in the morning at my house and then go to work?
Yes, especially if you work for a non-profit. It’s even easier not to make a profit when you’re high.
Well, I have a security clearance.
That’s not a question.
I have a security clearance. Can I get stoned?
No, federal employees are forbidden. We suspect you already knew that and only asked so you could bring up having a security clearance.
Can I drive while I’m high?
Legally no, so you should only do so if you’re trying to go somewhere.
What about medical marijuana?
I consider all marijuana to be medical marijuana, but yes, Washington has a program that allows those with a doctor’s recommendation to acquire a medical card that allows you to purchase from a dispensary. It’s the best part of getting a debilitating illness.
I live in public housing. Can I smoke in my own residence like everyone else?
No. Like most laws, especially the ones concerning drugs, this one discriminates against those who are poor, those who are black, and especially those who are poor and black. If you live in public housing, the law doesn’t apply to you. So you can’t smoke in your home, you can’t smoke in public, and you can’t smoke in private businesses. Aren’t you glad you voted for legalization last election?
Apples are out of season. Where should I buy smoking supplies?
Capitol Hemp in Adams Morgan is easily the best head shop in the District, especially now that you’re allowed to speak openly about marijuana. They’ve got a great selection of pipes, grinders, and other paraphernalia, but it’s also a great place to run into colorful local characters; Capitol Hemp has something of a barber shop feel. There are usually a few people who aren’t quite customers and don’t quite work there hanging out, shooting the shit. And it’s run by the guys who spearheaded Initiative 71, so giving Capitol Hemp your business is a good way to say thank you for legal weed.
Is it legal to scrape the resin out of my pipe and smoke that when I run out of weed?
Yes, but you can only possess two ounces of resin, so be mindful of how much you mine.
I’m a student at American University. We’re not allowed to smoke on school property. Where should I go to light up?
Every AU pot wonk knows there are only two places: The Berks, or that thin line of bamboo on the other side of Rockwood.
Why does the Columbia Heights Metro station always smell like weed?
Because people smoke weed around it.
If I see someone smoking in public, should I alert the police?
Yes, just as you would if you saw someone jaywalk or litter.
Is smoking marijuana in DC a gateway to smoking marijuana in harder places like Baltimore?
There’s no way you’re going to Baltimore for weed, kid.
Weed becomes legal in DC and months later the homicide rate spikes. Coincidence?
Who’s the biggest narc in DC?
Without question it’s David Brooks.
Is it legal to smoke with my girlfriend in bed and then get too self-conscious to perform during sex?
Does this mean Obama smokes weed?
If by Obama you mean Malia, then yes, she gets high with her Sidwell friends all the time.
WHEN WILL AMERICA END THE FAILED WAR ON DRUGS?????/
Easy there, friend. Let’s turn off the caps lock and relax a minute. America will end the War on Drugs just as soon as we elect our first woman president—Jill Stein.
Can I smoke in bars?
No, that would be far too safe. You’re only allowed to drink alcohol, which is 114 times deadlier than marijuana.
But they get to smoke in bars in Denver. Why can’t you do that here?
Because Mayor Buzzkill and the DC Council enacted a ban on smoking in businesses as soon as legalization went into effect last February.
Why would they do that?
They claim their hands were tied. The Republican Congress controls the city’s budget and wasn’t about to let half-black, liberal DC spend any of its tax revenue to write and enforce marijuana regulations. So legalization without a ban on smoking in businesses would have potentially created a free-for-all of unregulated pot clubs like in Amsterdam and Denver.
Wouldn’t that have been pretty awesome?
I thought Republicans were all about small government and libertarianism. Why would they interfere in DC’s affairs like this?
They’re paternalistic hypocrites. Also racists.
I saw something recently about private pot clubs. What’s going on there?
Last year the DC Council preemptively banned smoking in private clubs because they didn’t think they’d be able to regulate them. But legalization advocates pushed back, arguing that citizens should be able to have a place to smoke away from their homes and obnoxious children. The Council met last week and extended that ban until the end of the year, but they also set up a seven-person task force to consider whether to allow private clubs in the future.
What is the task force going to do?
If they’re doing their due diligence, they’ll get high, go to a bar, have a great time, and see the benefits of allowing smoking in private businesses. If they’re like every other task force, they’ll have a meeting to decide when to have a future meeting, then at that meeting, they’ll say they don’t have enough time to make an informed decision.
DC Council meetings sound interesting. Is it legal to smoke weed during them?
No, and Chairman Phil Mendelson will be a real dick about it.
Which councilmembers smoke the most pot?
Gotta be David Grosso and Brianne Nadeau. Why do you think they’re pushing so hard for fuller legalization? They want to be able to blow one on the rooftop of Nellie’s too.
Shit, where did I put my lighter?
It’s in your pocket. No, your coat pocket.
Can I smoke on the Metro?
Smoking can make you slow and accident-prone, so yes, Metro is an ideal spot to roll up a green line.
Can I take my bong on the Metro?
Yes, but like people with bikes, you have to stand with your bong on the last car, and you can’t transport it during rush hour.
Can I mix weed with other drugs?
Only if you want them to work better.
Do the people who write for Stuck in DC smoke pot?
Why do you think they only publish like six articles a month?
Now that it’s kind of legal, am I still sticking it to The Man when I smoke?
Only if you’re on federal land, where possession is still illegal.
I love getting high on federal land! Where’s the best spot?
There are so many options. 29% of the District is federally controlled, but we’re particularly fond of the National Arboretum. What could be more pleasant than stealing a discrete smoke in the National Herb Garden?
One last question. Does legalizing weed make DC cool?