***UPDATE: Effective July 6, 2022, DC residents who are at least 21 years of age may self-certify on their patient application that they will use cannabis purchased from a licensed dispensary for medical purposes in lieu of securing a recommendation from their healthcare provider. Registrations are free through August 18, 2022. Registrations issued by September 30, 2022, are valid for two (2) years from date of issuance.***
Thinking about getting your medical marijuana card in DC? The process can be pretty straight forward if you know where to go and who to talk to. If you’re brand new to cannabis, plant medicine, or just applying for medical help in general, it can seem rather convoluted and intimidating. But fear no more! Toker’s Guide is here to lead you through the medical cannabis process.
You might be wondering, if recreational marijuana is legal to gift and grow, why even bother jumping through the legislative hoops to get a medical card? Well, with the sheer abundance of DC’s I-71 vendors, the choices can be overwhelming. We help you understand which ones we like the most with our reviews, but even then there are times when you, maybe, can't find what you're looking for in the "Rec" market. By turning to the medical market, or at least giving yourself the option by getting your card, you can open up a greater world of possibilities. Of course, you can also be confident in the quality of medical cannabis given rather strict regulations, and know that it was grown right here in a DC medical cultivation facility as well ( Go local!).
Whatever your reasoning for checking out DC's medical cannabis scene, here's how to begin engaging with it:
First, be sure to visit the District’s info page on the basic requirements all patients must have. Among these baseline requirements are:
Two proofs of residency: I used my DC drivers license and my apartment lease, this is a winning combo if your license does not have your current address, or does not match the address of your second proof of residency
An approval letter from a certified Medical Cannabis doctor: this can be any doctor who is certified to give these approval letters.
Many third party organizations gather doctors on their platform to consolidate certified doctors in order to make the pairing process easier for patients and doctors alike. There are many of these organizations, each with their suspicious fees and odd legalese. The one straightforward service that I discovered was Veriheal. The total cost was $200 for pairing me with a doctor, the actual appointment, the instant approval letter and, for an extra $10, they sent all my information to the D.C. medical cannabis program. Amazing, right? Then, within just three days, I had my digital DC medical cannabis card!
It is worth noting, once your approval letter is sent by your doctor or third party service, the DC medical marijuana program must approve your letter which could take up to two weeks. The sole reason my card was expedited was due to me sending a nicely toned email to a wonderful support representative with D.C. Health, who immediately moved my case to the top of the list (lucky me, right?!). Thanks D.C. Health support rep!
Okay, so you have your card, now what? Time to walk into a weed shop and pick up some gas, right? Sort of, but, a little more waiting. If it’s your first time ever getting a medical cannabis card from any state, the first time you walk up to a dispensary, you won’t be able to waltz in right away. A medical cannabis dispensary is considered a healthcare setting (because, well, it is) and your first visit is sort of like an initial doctor’s office visit. There are a few forms and checks as well as a bit of a traditional waiting room style session. For me, this part was maybe 3 minutes, but seemed like nearly an eternity given my excitement.
I decided to make my first DC medical dispensary the Takoma Wellness Center and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Initially, I was just so stoked to get in there, but then I realized the last thing I wanted to do was shout my personal information through my two masks and plexiglass barrier between myself and the staff. Thankfully, the Takoma Wellness Center staff turned the experience into one that felt fast and easy. I was in, cleared, waited briefly, went in, took a gander at several different types of flower and edibles, and then made my way to the purchase counter. From entry to exit I'd say it took me about 15 minutes in total - pretty incredible considering I've waited extra hours for I-71 deliveries on occaison, and this was my first time.
No matter which medical cannabis dispensary you choose, once they have you in their system after that first visit, you’re free to browse their jars of plant medicine and bags of infused gummies! I, myself walked away with four different strains to try this week and a sweet 20% off first-time patient discount. When I went back, literally three hours later, I knew exactly what I had omitted from my first journey and it took me 5 minutes. It's simply delightful knowing that this type of shopping (can we call it that if it's medical?) can be accomplished so swiftly now.
So, just like that, I'm a medical marijuana patient in Washington, D.C. and I now visit numerous dispensaries, all listed on our medical marijuana dispensaries page, on a weekly basis. I have still received some I-71 deliveries when I see something I really want to try, but since procuring my card the frequency has been very low compared to before. With this in mind, what's my take on the medical scene in DC overall now? I have to say, on all accounts, I'm a big fan!
Coming Soon: How to get medical cannabis in DC if you have a medical cannabis card from another state (DC now has reciprocity for all other states' medical marijuana programs) and how to get your medical cannabis card in VA!