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District of Columbia

Cannabis laws in the District of Columbia express the tension between the federal and local governments and their overlapping jurisdictions over residents. Although marijuana is legal under District law, the possession, use, and sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Cannabis legalization on the District side evolved in response to a series of voter-backed initiatives, including Initiative 59, adopted in 1998, seeking the legalization of medical cannabis. Its implementation was blocked by Congressional passage of the Barr Amendment. In 2013, the first purchase of medical marijuana was made from a licensed dispensary in the District. In 2014, voters extended legalization to adult use.


Medical cannabis in the District of Columbia, legalized by the passage of the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act of 2010, allows DC residents, including minors, to be prescribed, purchase, possess, and use cannabis to treat a diagnosed qualifying medical condition or related side effect. 

The District’s reciprocity rules allow non-DC residents enrolled in another jurisdiction’s active medical cannabis program to purchase medical cannabis at a DC-licensed dispensary.

Administration of the District’s medical cannabis program is led by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). Metrc is the District’s selected track-and-trace system






Partnership Start: December 2014

Initiative 71 took effect in 2015, allowing District residents over the age of 21 to grow and possess small amounts of cannabis and “gift” up to one ounce of marijuana to another person. With oversight of District affairs exercised by the United States Congress, the District government is not empowered to legalize the sale of cannabis in what would be a violation of federal statute. The “gifting” provision in the law, however, has allowed dispensaries to proliferate. Metrc helps District regulators ensure the supply of cannabis in D.C. is monitored, traceable, tested, and secure by tracking the cultivation, processing, testing results, and manufacture of cannabis-based products. Unique to the District, instead of recording the “sale” of these products, Metrc’s system records the item, good, or service and the cannabis or cannabis-based product “gifted” by the vendor in the exchange.


DC Advanced Metrc System Training
July 11, 2022 at 09:00 AM EDT
DC New Business Metrc System Training
July 12, 2022 at 09:00 AM EDT
DC Advanced Metrc System Training
July 18, 2022 at 09:00 AM EDT

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We’ve made it easier to find licensed businesses in Metrc’s validated integrators list. Search and sorting functionality has been added to the system to help users find what they need quickly and easily.


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