Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Washington D.C.

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Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington DC

Obtaining a medical marijuana registration card in Washington DC offers patients the following benefits:

Legal Protection

Enrolling in the Washington DC Medical Cannabis Program protects qualifying patients from prosecution for possessing or purchasing medical marijuana. With valid medical marijuana registration cards and government-issued IDs, such patients are protected from prosecution for purchasing up to 8 ounces of cannabis flower within a 30-day period. Also, they can legally cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants at home without the fear of arrest. However, non-patients found with more than 2 ounces of cannabis may face misdemeanor charges punishable by up to six months imprisonment and/or $1,000 fines.

Higher Purchase and/or Possession Limits

Holders of marijuana patients in Washington DC can purchase up to 8 ounces of cannabis flowers within 30 days but must carry not more than 2 ounces at a time. On the other hand, recreational consumers are prohibited from buying cannabis products but may also possess up to 2 ounces of weed gifted to them.

Access for Minors

Licensed healthcare providers in Washington DC can recommend medical marijuana for patients under 18 years of age. However, eligible minors must designate caregivers aged 21 years or older to help them purchase and administer medical cannabis. Non-patients under 21 years old are prohibited from using cannabis recreationally.


Washington DC’s cannabis reciprocity permits out-of-state MMJ cardholders to buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries. Registered patients in DC can also purchase cannabis from other states with similar reciprocity laws. States like Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Arkansas, Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Utah accept medical marijuana cards issued in Washington DC.

Employment Protections

Washington DC’s Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment Act of 2022 provides broad employment protection for marijuana users. According to the new legislation, employers cannot fire employees for failing marijuana drug tests. The law also protects job seekers from employment discrimination solely because they are registered cannabis patients. Employers in the District are required to adjust their drug-testing policies to comply with the new legislation.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington DC

The following are some of the downsides of obtaining a Washington DC medical marijuana registration card:

Firearm Prohibition

Washington DC cannabis laws do not protect registered patients from the consequences of owning guns and ammunition as cannabis users, as stipulated under federal law. The Gun Control Act prohibits gun ownership for medical cannabis users in the District. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), licensed gun dealers must not sell firearms to medical marijuana cardholders.

Driving Restrictions

Driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal in Washington DC. However, the District’s DUI laws do not specify a legal limit for blood THC while driving. Local law enforcement officers may apprehend and request drug tests for medical marijuana cardholders suspected to be impaired while driving. Marijuana DUI offenders in DC face prison sentences, fines, and/or driver’s license suspension as potential penalties. Due to federal restrictions on marijuana use, medical marijuana cardholders in DC are ineligible to obtain commercial driver’s licenses (CDL).

Annual Renewal

Medical marijuana cardholders in DC must renew their registry cards every two years, and this often comes with some inconveniences. Adult patients aged 21 or older can self-certify before applying for medical marijuana card renewal in DC. On the other hand, healthcare practitioners must recertify minors annually after in-person or telehealth assessments. The cost of renewing medical marijuana cards in the District is $100. Meanwhile, consulting with healthcare providers in person or via telemedicine may cost between $80 and $300, depending on the medical provider.

Federal Prohibitions

Cannabis is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law. As a result, federal agencies typically do not hire medical marijuana cardholders. Such institutions may fire employees for failing cannabis drug tests even if the employees’ use of marijuana is off-duty. Also, federally subsidized home agencies in the District may evict occupants for possessing or consuming marijuana, even for medical purposes.

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