Washington, D.C. remains one of the best yet most underrated tourism capitals in the world. This is not surprising given that D.C. has always been one of the most visited places in the United States alone, especially as it is not only home to the capital of the country, but also known for its rich history, its museums, and numerous monuments.
Apart from the growing tourism in the capital, it cannot be denied that the state has also come to be known as a cannabis tourist destination, with many people even flocking from neighboring states and even flying from other destinations just to get a feel of what D.C. has to offer.
With recreational marijuana use still illegal in different parts of the United States, it comes as no surprise that numerous Americans and travelers are left to satisfy their needs either by traveling across borders or using underground sources. While there are indeed places that have decriminalized the drug or have more lenient laws regarding its use, this has only furthered the fire of individuals to visit places where they can get marijuana and that includes the District of Columbia.
Thinking of traveling to Washington, D.C. anytime soon? Here’s a guide on how you can consume marijuana and the legal state of cannabis in the area.
The Rise of Cannabis Tourism in D.C.
As the cannabis industry rapidly develops and turns into something more exciting, what with the ever-evolving and changing laws and regulations, it seems that the District of Columbia is not far behind on taking advantage of the boom that it brings to its economy.
Because of the aid it brings to the economy, what with the multi-billion dollar industry that the cannabis sector can provide, there are many companies and brands, as well as small businesses who want to cash in on the thirst of cannabis enthusiasts and lovers who are not only looking for new experiences, but also those who are often restricted by stringent laws in their area.
For many people across various states, there is a lack of accessibility when it comes to cannabis products and experiences. Even smoking lounges and dedicated areas for recreation are hard to come by, which is why individuals look for cannabis tourism to address their concerns.
There are varying types of cannabis tourism experiences that individuals can cash in on. Apart from weed-friendly hotels and bed and breakfasts, there are also restaurants offering cannabis-infused cuisine to elevate and even satisfy one’s palate.
On top of these, there are also activities such as tours to cultivation sites and centers to help users learn more about how their marijuana is produced. Of course, the highlight of these trips is often culminated with a sampling of the finest and some of the most unique cannabis strains, truly a delight for many.
There’s no denying that the love for cannabis and by extension, the experiences it provides, urge people to travel and explore different parts of the world. But more importantly, it is essential to point out that the shared experiences of these like-minded individuals help shape and even strengthen cannabis culture to what it is today.
Cannabis Legalization in D.C.
As of writing, medical marijuana and recreational cannabis use are technically legal in Washington, D.C. However, this can still pose confusion among users and sellers alike, especially since buying or selling cannabis is not allowed while possession is.
Medical marijuana was first legalized in Washington, D.C. in 1998. However, this was short-lived and was later on amended and legalized by the district council in 2010. While sales officially started in 2013, it was only in 2014 when the district council decriminalized marijuana possession.
The Harris Rider, however, which has been approved by Congress year after year since 2014, has been blocking the decriminalization efforts of the district council. The rider prevents D.C. from using its funds for the law, particularly its relationship to penalties reduction for drugs under the Schedule 1 category.
Thanks to the passing of Initiative 71 in 2014, D.C. recognized that it was legal for adults aged 21 and over to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and use marijuana on private property. Under this, the initiative also allowed individuals of legal age to transfer up to an ounce of marijuana to another person, provided that no transaction or exchange of money is involved.
Apart from possession, individuals are also allowed to grow and cultivate plants up to six plants at any given time, as well as have cannabis paraphernalia with them without being penalized or criminalized. These include, but are not limited to, bongs, rolling paper, and the like.
What You Should Know About Smoking Cannabis in Public
While D.C. allows possession and uses under federal law, possession of marijuana is still considered illegal on a federal level. This is because the District of Columbia is not actually a state and 22% of its land is federally-owned. This means that possession and use on federal lands, as well as military property and national parks, are strictly prohibited. However, you can walk around neighborhoods with some of your stashes up to two ounces without any problem.
Now that you know what’s allowed in Washington, D.C., you should be aware that breaking any part of the law can still get you arrested, so be sure to be in the know when it comes to these regulations. Many cannabis enthusiasts want to share in that culture publicly, but for now, you may want to take these elsewhere.
Changes Ahead in the Legal Landscape
The Harris Rider was finally removed from the appropriations bill in 2022. With this, leaders in the District of Columbia would be free to legalize recreational marijuana in the state and provide regulatory movements towards its and its commerce.
Moreover, the council has also held its first-ever public hearing on legalizing marijuana sales in the area. As mentioned, buying and selling weed is still strictly prohibited, which is why many businesses in Washington, D.C. have adopted a gifting culture of sorts, although these all fall under a gray area and market.
Essentially, what many of these individuals and gifting stores do is sell marked-up prices of clothing, stickers, and the like and will instead, gift marijuana in exchange for purchasing any of the said items.
With changes in the legal landscape up for discussion, D.C. remains to be in a hopeful state that yearns not only for the legalization of recreational adult-use cannabis, but one that operates in a legal and regulated market.
Check Out These Places in D.C.
Should you be interested in making a trip over to D.C. and if you are a cannabis enthusiast yourself, you might want to check out these destinations below. Who knows, you might just enter a cannabis scene unlike any other you have tried before.
- Bars and Lounges
There are smoking bars and lounges on the downlow in the District of Columbia. By learning where these are located and what they have to offer, you know that you are smoking in a safe space with like-minded individuals in the midst. Since smoking in public, especially in parks, are still prohibited, these act like an alternative space where you can enjoy puffing and smoking to your heart’s content.
While not technically a bar or a lounge per se, U Street is one of the places you should visit to light up safely among fellow cannabis lovers. There are alleyways that make for a strategic smoke session. Plus, since U Street is known for its nightlife and cultural center, there are other things you can do after lighting a joint, such as hitting the clubs with your friends and dancing the night away.
Nightclubs and bars with open rooftop areas also generally welcome cannabis smokers, especially since they are more lax about their restrictions in the place. As a matter of fact, the worse you can come across is having a manager asks you to take your smoking session someplace else.
One of these places is the Rosebar Lounge. This nightclub is filled with exciting sounds and even more interesting people.
- Inns and BnBs
They say the best place to smoke is at the comfort of your own home, but since you’re on a cannabis tour and pilgrimage of sorts in D.C., why not opt for the next best thing, right? You can check into marijuana-friendly hotels and rental spaces and travel solely with the enjoyment of weed on your itinerary.
With staycations becoming increasingly popular, it comes as no surprise that numerous people and even businesses are opening up shop and opening their doors to people who want to simply take kush while on vacation. Plus, their homes already come equipped with all the necessities, allowing you to sit back, relax, and enjoy.
If this is your scene, booking a room at either the D.C. Bud and Breakfast, The Cozy Canna-Inn, or the Cannabis Friendly DC Hideaway Suites is your best bet.
The D.C. Bud and Breakfast is a cute Brookland home that comes with access to a joint or a pot brownie for a small upgrade, on top of having bath towels and soap.
Meanwhile, the Cozy Canna-Inn takes cannabis experiences to a new level by providing guests with a karaoke and puffing session. Geared towards the more meditative side of cannabis use, you can even enjoy your stay with a seasonal boat cruise, a meditation therapy session, and even a puff and paint session. All of these are, of course, filled with cannabis products such as a cannabis-infused body oil rub, a free pre-roll, and more.
The Cannabis-Friendly DC Hideaway Suite, on the other hand, can house up to six guests who are looking for a cannabis experience. From the moment you arrive, you can expect free samples of different marijuana strains to welcome you as well as edibles of all kinds.
- Restaurants and Diners
Foodies who visit the District of Columbia will not be disappointed with the culinary scene in the area as there are various options to choose from. From comfort food to more elevated dishes, D.C. has something for everyone.
The perennial stoner food that you can rely on any time of the day is no other than DC Stoned Pizza which claims to be the number one cannabis-infused pizza in DC. There are classic flavors such as Margherita, Cheese, Plain and Pepperoni which are laced with marijuana. They even have some weed-infused lemonade to help you wash down your food.
For those who want a more intimate and private affair, opting for a catering service such as the Green Panther Chef will make your travel to D.C. worthwhile. This is particularly great for those who are planning a romantic evening with their significant other or even a gathering with friends.
The Green Panther Chef comes with a five-course meal that is infused with cannabis to elevate the whole culinary experience. To top it all off, an executive cannabis chef jazz on-site will also be there to curate and provide a unique culinary adventure. A custom cake will also be available for your sweet ending.
- Cannabis Events and Happenings
When it comes to events, Washington, D.C. hosts the National Cannabis Festival every year, making it one of the happenings you should not miss. This festival is one for the books as it celebrates the end of marijuana prohibition with a bang. From music, concerts, cannabis vendors, and even an educational pavilion, you’re sure to get your fill of all things marijuana during this day.
If you have come for a wild night, you’re sure to enjoy parties and other similar events that are constantly being thrown in D.C. all year round. One of these events to check out right now is the Howard University Smoke Out happening on December 3, 2021. Here, you can party and meet with other cannabis lovers and dance the night away to the music of the BiggSipp. Plus, you can get free gifts at the door if you’re one of the first 50 people.
Cannabis tourism and culture are definitely alive and kicking in the District of Columbia. If you’re planning to visit D.C. soon, make sure to check out some of these spots and you’re guaranteed to have the time of your life.