Can I smoke outside in DC?

This is a common questioned asked by locals  and tourists alike. And its a great question because so many people do it. As the weather warms, the smell of fresh cannabis begins to fill the air throughout the District. Although cannabis is recreationally legal to have and smoke in DC it is not legal to smoke outside on public or federal property. Many people take advantage of the new cannabis culture in DC and smoke when and where they want, but in fact if you get caught, there can be consequences.

We wanted to run down the places where you can and cant smoke in DC so you know.


420dc where to smoke in dc


Where Not to Smoke in DC

Sure, you’re not supposed to smoke in DC public areas. However, let’s be for real. With vape pens and one-hitters, many get away with enjoying cannabis in public conspicuously. While you can get in a little trouble for smoking your cannabis while walking down the street, you can get into much hotter water if you are using the category 1 controlled substance on federal land. 

That’s right. Washington, D.C. has legalized both medical and recreational marijuana as a district. However, they are still overseen by the federal government (which is right in the midst of where the laws are made). 

When Initiative 71 passed on February 26, 2015, the document clearly stated that if you consumed cannabis on federal property, you will be arrested. That means stay away from national parks, memorials, landmarks, museums and even post offices. 

The tricky part about DC, is you might not even be sure of what is considered federal property. Government property spans a total of 18 square miles throughout the entire area of DC. That’s 29% of the whole district. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that openly smoking cannabis in almost ⅓ of DC will result in an arrest. 

Checkout the complete map above of what is considered federal property in Washington, DC. However, there are a few popular places you definitely don’t want to get caught sparking up in:

  • Smithsonian
  • National Mall
  • Rock Creek Park
  • Arlington Cemetery
  • Any memorial or monument
  • Tidal Basin
  • C&O Canal
  • Fort Dupont Park
  • Freedom Plaza
  • In front of the The White House
  • Virginia
  • Maryland

When in doubt, don’t toke up. Especially if you’re just a tourist. Or at least buy a safe vape cartridge


where can you smoke in dc


Where to Smoke in DC

Despite not allowing individuals to smoke in DC, regulations surrounding the nation’s capital are not a total bummer. You can be as high as you want wherever you want. You just need to make sure you toke up before heading out. 

Under Initiative 71, there aren’t cafes like Amsterdam or even Seattle, Washington. So the next best thing is to create your own vibe. You can find private events every night some of which even have a lounge area where you can smoke and socialize.

You might also be tempted to go into nature and visit somewhere like Rock Creek Park or other local parks but be mindful that is a National Park and still Federal property. Now there are many hideouts and secret locations where people do smoke in Rock creek park because it is actually the biggest park in a city in America (yes New yorkers, even bigger than central park). But when doing this just be careful and mind other park goers who don’t smoke.

The best option though is to be on private property. Whether you are using marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes, you are legally allowed to smoke in the privacy of your own home or on your own property. So invite some friends over, order delivery and enjoy. Be sure to share this article with your friends so you don’t have to bail them out of jail.

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