Friday, August 12, 2022

DC, Maryland, Virginia: Where And How Congress Can Buy Marijuana

Recreational? Medical? Grow your own? Cannabis laws can get confusing in and around our nation’s capital. Here are the rules the rulemakers would need to follow.

While federal prohibition may prevent millions of Americans from legally purchasing and consuming cannabis, the case isn’t the same for congress.

There are numerous opportunities for congress members to purchase cannabis legally. However, there are different rules and regulations to abide by depending on where they attempt to buy their marijuana, and being ignorant of them has the potential to result in an arrest that could land them in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Here are the rules for purchasing cannabis in each of the states surrounding congress.

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District of Columbia Cannabis Laws

The rules regarding cannabis purchases in the District of Columbia can be confusing. Marijuana is legalized for both medical and recreational use in DC, but even though the latter exists, there are no recreational marijuana dispensaries to purchase it from.

RELATED: Can You Legally Smoke Weed In DC? It’s Complicated

There are, however, seven medical marijuana dispensaries that sell cannabis to those who have a card permitting them to buy it, which leaves congress members with two options for purchasing cannabis in DC: qualifying for medical weed or purchasing it elsewhere.  

Maryland Cannabis Laws

The cannabis laws in Maryland are more straightforward than in neighboring D.C. In Maryland, cannabis use for medicinal purposes is legalized, but recreational use is a different story. Marijuana possession of less than 10 grams is decriminalized, but comes with the costly fine of $100. Anything more than 14 grams could land someone in prison for up to a year, or a fine of up to $1,000. It’s safe to say that Maryland isn’t the best option for congress members who have intentions of purchasing marijuana.

Virginia Cannabis Laws

Cannabis laws in Virginia are both straightforward and fairly progressive. In 2021, Virginia became the first southern state to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. Cultivation of up to four plants is allowed, which means congress members who have an affinity for cannabis may benefit from settling down with a home and some land in Virginia. That would allow them to consume cannabis both legally and conveniently.

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Unfortunately, recreational sales of cannabis in Virginia isn’t slated to begin until 2024. However, medical marijuana is legal in the state. In fact, laws allowing for the usage of medical marijuana for conditions including chemotherapy side effects and glaucoma were on the books as early as 1979. Medical marijuana dispensaries on the other hand weren’t available until 2020. There are several medical dispensaries in the state where citizens who are allowed can purchase their medical marijuana products from. This is another opportunity congress members have to purchase cannabis.

Given the fact that cannabis has been legalized for recreational use, but sales are explicitly banned makes it seem as though it’s not the best place for congress members to try to buy it. Since it’s illegal to use recreationally in Maryland, that’s not a good option either. The best choice for congress members hoping to obtain and use cannabis appears to be growing it in Virginia until the state allows for the sale of it in dispensaries.

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