News & Politics

Weed in the DMV: The Latest Laws

It’s hard to keep up with rules in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

This article, originally published in January 2023, was updated on June 30, 2023.


The law used to be simple: Marijuana was a no-no. But things have changed quickly, and it’s become hard to keep track. Here’s our handy guide to the latest on lighting up.


The mayor signed a bill in October allowing adults to self-certify that they qualify for medical marijuana—no prescription needed. (Others can legally possess two ounces or no more than three mature plants at home.) In June 2022, the DC Council also passed a bill that protects employees from getting fired if they fail a drug test. Meanwhile, the city has been wrestling with how best to handle “gifting” shops that exploit a legal loophole to peddle pot.


After passage of a ballot initiative in November, recreational dispensaries will open and adults over 21 with a valid ID will be able to possess up to 1.5 ounces of weed or up to two plants for personal use. The new rules go into effect July 1. But for anyone without a medical prescription, it will still be against the law to possess larger quantities. It is important to note that crossing state lines with your dispensary weed is still a federal crime, even if weed is legal in both the jurisdiction you are leaving and the one you are entering. 


Adults have been allowed to possess up to one ounce since 2021 and can cultivate up to four plants at home. But they aren’t permitted to buy or sell it: In February 2022, Republicans vetoed a bill that would have greenlit the sale of recreational weed. The proposal currently remains on hold.

This article appears in the January 2023 issue of Washingtonian.

Editorial Fellow
Malcolm Ferguson
Editorial Fellow