Updated on July 5th, 2019 at 04:00 pm
The view on cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, is starting to shift as the laws are changing. In 2015, cannabis with specific guidelines was legalized in Washington DC. Medical marijuana was used and prescribed in DC for years before it was legalized for recreational use. The laws around medical marijuana in the District of Columbia has not changed since cannabis has been legalized for recreational use, so individuals with a medical marijuana card, still cannot use their medical marijuana in public. The difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana is important because it sets the guidelines for the purpose of marijuana usage.
Laws Governing Marijuana Possession in DC
Attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel are extremely knowledgeable in the laws governing marijuana possession in DC. In the District of Columbia, if one is over the age of 21, then it is legal to possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis. One can own up to six mature cannabis plants and can own up to six other plants that have not reached maturity. The penalty for violating the amount of cannabis one can grow or possess is a misdemeanor charge carrying a punishment up to 6 months incarceration and up to $1,000 fine. If an individual has a medical marijuana card, then one can possess over 2 ounces if cannabis because it has been prescribed by a doctor.
One can distribute cannabis up to 6 plants or up to 2 ounces to others over the age of 21, but no payment can be given for said cannabis. In other words, it can be a gift, but if there is any form of payment or exchange, then it is a crime. If one gives under 6 plants or under 2 ounces of cannabis to an individual under the age of 21, then it counts as a charge of distributing to a minor. If one is caught distributing less than a ½ pound of cannabis for profit and it is their first offense, one can be punished with a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail. For any subsequent offense, one could face up to 2 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If the amount of cannabis is over a ½ pound, then one could face up to 5 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Legalizing Marijuana in Washington DC
Washington DC is a special case when it comes to legalizing marijuana because cannabis still has not been legalized at a federal level. This means that federal law enforcement can still arrest an individual for using cannabis on federal land, such as the national mall. It is important to know exactly what kind of land one is on when consuming cannabis in public because one could end up being arrested and face charges because of where they were when consuming cannabis.
If you are charged with possession of marijuana or distribution of marijuana, it is important to contact an attorney that is knowledgeable in the laws in the District of Columbia to defend your case. Contact our attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel for a free confidential evaluation.