A Resident’s Guide To Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card in DC

Learn how to obtain a DC Medial Marijuana Card In DC or obtain recreational gifted cannabis from a gifting store like dreams wellness.

Due to the 2010 Legalization Of Marijuana For Medical Treatment Act, DC’s Medical Cannabis Program was instated by the District’s Mayor Muriel Bowser. This program allows DC medical patients to legally purchase, possess, and smoke marijuana. Thanks to DC’s recreational “Gifting Market,” you don’t necessarily have to own a Medical Marijuana Card to obtain cannabis in DC. However, if you are an 18+ DC resident that would benefit from the medicinal use of marijuana, you may want to consider learning about DC’s Medical Marijuana Card and how to obtain one. 

If you are in the market for DC cannabis or interested in learning about DC’s cannabis laws, you are in the right place! In this article, we will guide new MMJ patients through the process of acquiring a Medical Cannabis Card in DC and describe the qualifications you must meet before getting started. We will also address similar topics such as using an out-of-state ID or Medical Card, the difference between “gifting” and buying cannabis in DC, and what “gifting cannabis” in DC really means. 

  • How to Get a Medical Cannabis Card in DC
  • DC’s Out-of-State Card Rules 
  • Recreational "Gifting" vs Buying Medical Marijuana
  • How “Gifting” Marijuana works in DC

How to Get a Medical Cannabis Card in DC

There is a rather lengthy process to obtaining your Medical Marijuana Card in DC. You must meet requirements, acquire a referral, pay for and fill out an application, and practice patience to make it through the obstacles of purchasing Medical Marijuana in DC. The list below describes step-by-step how to obtain a medical cannabis card in DC. 

Meet Residency and Age Requirements in DC

All medical patients must prove DC residency before obtaining a DC Medical Marijuana Card. Those out-of-district attempting to apply for a DC Medicinal Marijuana Cards will be promptly rejected. However, many other U.S. State Cards are recognized under the Districts reciprocity rules. 

  • DC’s Reciprocity Has Been Extended to These States

The legalization of cannabis for medical treatment allows DC patients 18+ to lawfully consume cannabis purchased from certified DC dispensaries. Medical patients under the age of 21 must be accompanied by an adult caregiver during the purchasing of cannabis. After verifying the patient’s medical card and the caregiver’s ID, the caregiver can then purchase, possess, dispense, and assist in the administration of medical cannabis to the underage patient. 

Doctor Referral 

Most DC residents start the Medical Marijuana journey by speaking with their primary care physicians. Your primary doctor can answer any questions you have about using medical marijuana, and they can refer you to a Medical Marijuana Prescriber to discuss your ailments and how using medical marijuana can potentially help you. 

Marijuana-Friendly Physicians 

After getting a referral from your primary care doctor to meet with a marijuana-friendly physician, you will follow through with your appointment. In this appointment, the physician will ask questions about you and about your ailments/symptoms. If they decide to approve you as a Medical Marijuana Patient, you will then submit a District’s Department of Health Patient Application Form. 

Submit an Application

It costs around $100 to submit a DC Medical Marijuana Card Application. You can apply online or in person. You can also talk to staff at your local dispensary, and they will help answer any questions you might have about the application process. 

Some patients choose to send their application through the mail. However, this method often takes longer due to the amount of time your application spends in the postal system. Most medical patients report hearing back quicker after having sent an application online. The waiting period can take anywhere from 1-12 weeks. 

Wait for Your Card in the Mail

Once your application is reviewed and approved, you will then be sent a Medical Marijuana Card through the mail. DC medical cards usually cost $50. After your card comes through the mail, you will then be lawfully allowed to purchase medical cannabis within DC dispensaries. You can use this card for a whole year before you will be required to apply for recertification. 

DC Medican Marijuana card guide


DC Medical Marijuana Cards are valid for one year. You must submit a recertification application annually to maintain your medical marijuana patient status. The recertification application also costs $100. And by any chance you might need a replacement card, you’ll have to fork over another $90. If you don’t need a medical card and you don't want to pay these repeated application charges, consider obtaining cannabis through DC’s Cannabis Gifting Market. 

  • Gifting vs Purchasing Medical

Wait, I already Have a Medicinal Card from another state

Can you buy weed in DC using a Medical Marijuana Card from another U.S. State? If your state has legalized medicinal cannabis, the answer is probably yes! In a 2019 emergency rulemaking, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced an expansion of the scope of DC reciprocity rules for out-of-state medical marijuana patients. This ruling allows medical patients to lawfully purchase medical cannabis in the District’s authorized dispensaries with a valid ID and medical card from one of at least 27 states that the District’s recognition encompasses.

Reciprocity In DC 

Reciprocity in DC limits or regulates certain trading practices between its District and the other U.S. States. With the expansion of DC reciprocity rules, many new State IDs and Medical Marijuana Cards are now legally recognized by the District and its medical cannabis dispensaries. But, precisely which states hold legal reciprocity? Read on to learn which State’s MMJ residents can lawfully purchase medical cannabis in DC, as stated by District Law.

DC’s Reciprocity is Extended to These States:

  • Alaska 
  • Arizona 
  • Arkansas 
  • California 
  • Colorado 
  • Connecticut 
  • Delaware 
  • Florida 
  • Georgia 
  • Hawaii
  •  Illinois
  •  Iowa
  •  Maine
  •  Maryland
  •  Massachusetts
  •  Michigan
  •  Minnesota
  •  Missouri
  •  Montana
  •  Nevada
  •  New Hampshire
  •  New Jersey
  •  New Mexico
  •  New York
  •  North Dakota
  •  Ohio
  •  Oklahoma
  •  Oregon
  •  Pennsylvania
  •  Puerto Rico
  •  Rhode Island
  •  South Dakota
  •  Utah
  •  Vermont
  •  Virginia
  •  Washington
  •  West Virginia 

Recreational “Gifting” vs Buying Medical Marijuana 

As we mentioned earlier, you do not need a medical card to obtain cannabis in DC lawfully. Due to a loophole found in Initiative 71, DC’s cannabis community has built a legal marijuana gifting market where adults 21+ can purchase art or a sticker from cannabis stores in DC in exchange for a free gift of cannabis or cannabis products. 

DC Cannabis Stores, like Dreams Wellness, offer a wide variety of cannabis products, including pre-rolls, edibles, concentrates, and much more. You can walk in and ask their expert employees to guide you through the gifting process, or you can order online for a quick in-store pickup. Read on to learn the differences between purchasing medicinal weed and obtaining weed from the DC Gifting Market. 

DC weed gifting recrational



Purchasing medicinal marijuana with a Medical Marijuana Card is 100% legal in the eyes of DC law. If you own a valid medical card from DC or any or the states that hold reciprocity with DC, you are allowed to purchase cannabis is the District’s official dispensaries.  


Due to the cannabis laws and regulations in DC, it is still illegal to purchase cannabis recreationally. However, with I-71, DC cannabis stores can gift cannabis to customers purchasing art or a sticker. As long as the cannabis is referred to as a “gift,” this Gifting Market will continue to thrive and float above DC’s legal cannabis restrictions. 



You must be 18 years of age or older to obtain a Medical Marijuana Card in DC. Patients 18-20 years old must be accompanied by a caregiver during the application process and purchasing of cannabis. Caregivers purchase, possess, and distribute cannabis to the patient. Patients 21 years and older can purchase cannabis from a DC certified dispensary with a valid ID and an MMJ Cardalso known as (Medical Marijuana Card). 


Adults 21 years and older can obtain cannabis gifts by purchasing non-cannabis items from the District’s cannabis stores. These stores are not certified dispensaries in the eyes of DC law, however, they are the main sources of cannabis for recreational smokers in the District. With proof of age on a valid ID or license, any DC resident 21+ can lawfully obtain cannabis from these cannabis stores. 



For patients 18-20 years of age, you must bring your MMJ Card, and your caregiver must bring a valid ID or License with proof of age to the dispensary. For patients 21 years and older, you must bring a valid ID or license with proof of age and your MMJ Card to the dispensary. DC dispensaries are legally not allowed to sell medical marijuana to patients without the appropriate identification.  


To obtain cannabis through DC’s Gifting Market, you must show up to the cannabis store with a valid ID or license that proves your age is 21 or older. Due to the cannabis laws in DC, adults 21+ can lawfully obtain and gift cannabis to one another. 

How Much Can I Purchase?


DC residents 18+ owning a Medical Cannabis Card can lawfully possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis per month. The purchasing limit for patients is 4 ounces every 30 days. The daily purchasing limit is 1 ounce of cannabis flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, 72 ounces of liquid cannabinoid products, and 16 ounces of infused edibles. 


Adults 21+ can possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis for personal use. There is a gifting limit of 1 ounce of cannabis flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, 72 ounces of liquid cannabinoid products, and 16 ounces of infused edibles.

Marijuana “Gifting” Market in DC

The enforcement of Initiative 71 has allowed DC’s cannabis community to build and maintain a legal Gifting Market for cannabis and cannabis products. How exactly does the Gifting Market work? And how do you obtain cannabis using DC’s cannabis stores and their recreational gifting system? Read on to find out!

How Does “Gifting” work? 

DC has certified medicinal dispensaries as well as storefronts where you can be gifted cannabis. You can be gifted cannabis from a headshop, the various smoke shops around DC, or by an i-71 compliant gifting shop. To obtain cannabis without a medical card, you would enter a gifting shop, like Dreams Wellness, and show a valid ID or license proving that your age is 21 or older. You would then browse the gift items and decide what you’d like to leave the store with. After purchasing a piece of art, you would be gifted your chosen cannabis products for personal use within deemed legal locations. Easy and stress-free. 


We hope to have shed some light on the process of obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card in DC. Remember, you do not need an MMJ Card to obtain cannabis in DC. If you are 21+ with a valid ID, you can easily obtain cannabis in DC’s cannabis gifting market. Drop by Dreams Wellness to ask about the gifting process, shop for rad art, and leave with premium cannabis! 

medical weed

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