Ever wonder what it would take to grow and smoke your own cannabis in DC? You’re not alone! Growing your own weed is a great way to save money on recreational cannabis products and can offer you some peace of mind and quality assurance, knowing exactly how your flower was grown. If you like working with plants and you want to try your hand at your own exotic strains, be sure to check out this guide for everything you need to know about growing cannabis in DC. In this article, we’ll cover the cultivation laws of Washington DC vs. its surrounding states, growing mediums, setups, equipment, and how to get started. Check back frequently for updates as regulations change and growing-practices improve!

Growing Laws in Washington DC

After Initiative 71 took effect in 2015, DC residents over the age of 21 are allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants at a time in their primary residence as long as no more than three are mature and flowering at a time.

Not all homes qualify, though. It isn’t legal to grow cannabis within 1000 feet of public buildings, daycare centers, schools, swimming pools, playgrounds, arcades, youth centers, libraries, or public housing. Noncompliance will result in a doubled fine or penalty.

If more than one person is residing in the home, the limit is increased to 12 plants. However, everyone in the house must be over the age of 21. If there are minors involved, you could be fined or penalized. In this case, no more than six plants can be flowering at a time.

Growing laws in Maryland

Unlike Washington DC, Maryland has no cannabis program. It is still illegal for you to possess marijuana and any marijuana paraphernalia in Maryland. Since there are no laws for cultivation in Maryland, everything is based on possession.

Possessing up to 10 grams of cannabis is a civil offense, and you will be fined up to $100. Anything less than 50lbs is considered a misdemeanor and can incur fines up to $1000 or a year in prison. If you’re found guilty of possession with intent to distribute of any amount under 50 lbs you’re looking at a felony, up to 5 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Bottom line: don’t grow or sell weed in Maryland. Possession up to 10 grams is only a civil offence though, thanks to Maryland’s decriminalized cannabis.

Growing laws in Virginia

Like Maryland, Virginia is a pretty anti-cannabis state. While there are no official laws against the cultivation, it is implied based on the harsh possession laws and penalties as well as a law against the manufacturing of marijuana.

In Virginia, possessing a ½ oz of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor and will stick you with a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail. Selling any amount of cannabis is a felony and can have you incarcerated anywhere between 1-10 years on top of a $2500 fine. Manufacturing cannabis is a felony that can put you in jail for 5-30 years.

Virginia is ultimately anti-cannabis. Don’t grow, possess, or sell cannabis in Virginia.

Different ways to grow marijuana

weed growing dc

There are many different ways to grow marijuana. However, you should always keep your level of knowledge and time constraints at the front of your mind before making any big decisions on how you want to grow your own. The most low-maintenance and cost-efficient way to grow weed is with soil, though you can achieve stellar results with some hands-on time and a hydroponic system. Here are the top three ways to grow cannabis and a few pros and cons to each.


Soilless grows are quickly becoming the go-to for indoor grows since hydroponics offers a higher level of control over what nutrients the plants receive. Hydroponic grows require feeding the plants with mineral salt nutrients through the roots instead of taking what they would need from the soil. Instead of soil, cannabis plants are grown in a substrate like Rockwool, perlite, coco coir, or vermiculite and manually fed specific levels of nutrients during automated or by-hand waterings.

If you know what you’re doing, cannabis grown hydroponically can grow faster and yield more per square foot than plants grown in soil. However, it requires more hands-on time, precision, and attention to detail since cannabis plants are finicky. Too much or too little of one vital nutrient could cause nutrient burn or lockout, lowering yields and staggering growth. Additionally, it’s challenging to flush hydro plants completely. When you burn cannabis flowers grown hydroponically, the ash tends to be black instead of gray or white, indicating potentially dangerous unflushed nutrients.

If you’re just getting started but feel like hydro is the way to go, invest in the Cannabis Grow Bible to help you diagnose and troubleshoot possible issues.


Soil is the traditional go-to for indoor cannabis grows. It’s cheap, and also forgiving in the sense that everything the plants need can be found in the dirt. However, plants grown with soil frequently take longer to reach maturity.

Soil is an excellent choice for newbie growers, but high-quality potting soil is essential. We highly recommend using Build-A-Soil for all of your cannabis needs. They offer pre-mixed bags of high-quality soil specially designed for the specific needs of cannabis. However, many strains require different levels of nutrients, so they sell each component separately. This allows you to build your own super soil for an organic no-till garden. No-till is perfect for beginners since it won’t require any nutrient supplementation.

Fox Farm is another good brand! Just make sure that the soil you choose doesn’t contain an extended-release fertilizer (like Miracle Grow). These fertilizers are hard to flush and are also not suitable for cannabis plants intended for curing and smoking.


Aeroponic grows are similar to hydro grows in the sense that nutrients are delivered to the roots via water through osmosis. The difference is that aeroponic cannabis grows don’t use any growing mediums. Instead of saturating a substrate, nutrients, oxygen, and CO2 are delivered directly to the roots through a fine mist.

Growing cannabis aeroponically is the most expensive way to grow since it requires a lot of equipment to do the job correctly. It’s also not the best choice for beginners as it requires a higher degree of attention to detail. It’s the riskiest way to grow since a short power outage could kill your whole crop.

Despite everything though, cannabis grown aeroponically is impressive. Aeroponics grows are known for producing plants that just dump hash and produce fat THC-laden trichomes in unmatched yields.

Growing Methods and Setups

There are so many different ways to grow weed well. Since cannabis plants can’t be visible from the outside and the growing season in DC is relatively short, the setups we’ve outlined below are all for indoor grows.


Soil grows are the easiest to set up. All you need is a few necessary materials, lights, and dirt to be efficient. However, growing with soil can be accomplished in many different ways.

  • No-till: No-till is a one and done setup. Once you have your plants, you won’t have to do much of anything besides watering and the occasional pruning. The soil system is full of living things that work together with the plant.
  • Sea of Green: This setup allows growers to grow more cannabis faster by using smaller plants that mature earlier. It creates an unmatched flower production speed, though the average yield is less at a time.
  • Screen of Green: This setup uses the sea of green method with the addition of a screen or trellis netting that helps to train plants into producing more top colas.
  • Drip Irrigation: Drippers help to keep soil evenly saturated, allowing you to automate your watering and feeding process.



Hydroponic grows can be simple or complex. Each method requires different moving parts, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the techniques before choosing a system.

  • Nutrient Film Technique (NFT): This setup is a great one for beginners. It moves nutrients and water from a reservoir through grow trays or tubes using an air pump and typically comes in an all-in-one system. NFT is an example of a continuous flow system.
  • Flood and Drain / Ebb and Flow: Ebb and flow is another easy system for newbies and is super cheap to set up. It consists of a nutrient solution reservoir, a pump, and a timer. A few times a day, the pump will switch on and flood the tray or table of plants to saturate the substrate and then drain back into the reservoir to cycle through again.
  • Wick systems: Wick systems are widely used because they’re easy to set up, but they’re notoriously difficult to calibrate and operate correctly. In a wick system, the plants absorb nutrients through wicks that sit in a nutrient solution located in a reservoir below the plants.
  • Gravity Systems: Like wick systems, gravity systems are easy to set up but difficult to calibrate. In this setup, everything is placed at a slight slope so that gravity moves the nutrient solution through the growing container. The solution travels from the top of the slope through the grow medium and into a second reservoir at the bottom.
  • Drip Irrigation: A drip irrigation setup feeds plants by utilizing a pump from the nutrient reservoir into a series of individual drip lines that help to deliver nutrients directly to the plants. It’s one of the more expensive setups.


Aero grows are usually best left to the pros. However, they can be easy to set up and are definitely worth experimenting with once you successfully harvest a few runs.

  • Deep Water Culture: Deep Water Culture systems use air and water in a contained system to grow aeroponically. Bubbleponics utilizes an all-in-one nutrient and plant holding container with a lid and an air pump. The pump releases air into the water and bubbles within the reservoir, effectively misting the roots of the plants inside.
  • Aeroponic Pots: Aeroponic pots are another contained aeroponic system. It uses tubes, pumps, and spray nozzles to mist the roots of the plants at regular intervals. Like all aeroponics, the reservoir is separate from the roots, though the plant is being misted constantly. This setup is expensive and generally used in professional grows.

What you need to set up an indoor grow

marijuana grower dc

Every cannabis garden consists of a few key components. You’ll want lights and bulbs, an oscillating fan, ducting, a carbon filter, a humidifier, and an air conditioner. Troubleshooting and monitoring tools like thermometers, timers, and organic pesticides are never a bad idea, and you’ll always want to have duct tape and zip ties on hand, too! Optional items include tents and cabinets, which can enclose your garden in a smaller, more controllable environment. To get started, be sure to refresh yourself on the essential parts of a cannabis grow room by learning how to build a simple cannabis grow.

To set up a basic soil grow, you will need:

  • Lights
  • Light bulbs
  • Pots
  • Soil
  • Clones (up to 6)
  • Water purifier (if you have hard water)
  • Oscillating fan
  • Carbon filter
  • Portable AC
  • Ducting
  • Troubleshooting products (co2 bags, enzymes, organic pesticides)
  • Hardware (zip ties, trellis netting, watering cans and sprayers, stakes)
  • Automation tools (Timers, humidity/CO2/temperature readers, humidifier)

To set up a basic hydro grow, you will need:

  • Lights
  • Lightbulbs
  • Substrate (Rockwool, coco coir, etc)
  • Clones (up to 6)
  • Reservoir(s)
  • Water purifier
  • Air stone(s)
  • Nutrient pump(s)
  • Water pump(s)
  • Air pump(s)
  • Hoses and tubing
  • Grow tray or table
  • Oscillating fan
  • Carbon filter
  • Portable AC
  • Ducting
  • Troubleshooting products (co2 bags, enzymes, organic pesticides)
  • Hardware (zip ties, trellis netting, watering cans and sprayers, stakes)
  • Automation tools (Timers, humidity/CO2/temperature readers, humidifier)

To set up an aeroponics grow, you will need:

  • Air stones
  • Water level gauge
  • Clay pebbles
  • Pot or grow box (build your own)
  • Nutrient pumps
  • Mist nozzles
  • Hose
  • Nutrients
  • Oscillating fan
  • Carbon filter
  • Portable AC
  • Ducting
  • Troubleshooting products (co2 bags, enzymes, organic pesticides)
  • Hardware (zip ties, trellis netting, watering cans and sprayers, stakes)
  • Automation tools (Timers, humidity/CO2/temperature readers, humidifier)

Where to get cannabis grow equipment in DC

Green Goddess Supply is one of the best places to find high-quality growing supplies. They offer discreet setup like their grow cabinet series, The Armoire, which looks like a beautiful armoire but is actually a complete cannabis growing system. This growing machine can simplify your entire setup and cultivation process in a discreet and efficient small-scale way.

the armoire weed grow


If you want to go into a store you can visit to get a more personal touch and more information on growing, check out Capital City Hydroponics or Wash Hydro.

Hire someone to help you set things up

There are many individual cultivators out there who offer consulting services to help you set up the perfect cannabis grow. Hiring someone ensures success on your first harvest and also offers the opportunity for you to connect with someone who can teach you about cannabis as you work together. It can also save you a lot of time and trial and error to work with a professional.

To find cannabis cultivation consultants near you, reach out to us at [email protected] and we will connect you with a certified specialist.

Leave a Reply

  1. christopherandrews

    can you please let me know which strains to buy and from which seed bank? 
    Seed bank should deliver to new York. 
    Thanks a ton!