Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 16B. Use of Marijuana for Medical Treatment.


§ 7–1671.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) "Adjacent" means located within the same physical structure as, and is abutting, adjoining, bordering, touching, contiguous to, or otherwise physically meeting.

(1A) “Administer” or “administration” means the direct introduction of medical marijuana, whether by inhalation, ingestion, or any other means, into the body of a person.

(1B) "Advanced practice registered nurse" means an individual licensed and in good standing to practice advanced practice registered nursing under District law.

(1C) "Authorized practitioner" means a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, physician assistant, dentist, or naturopathic physician who is licensed and in good standing to practice under District law.

(2) “Bona fide relationship with a qualifying patient” means a relationship between an authorized practitioner and qualifying patient for which the authorized practitioner:

(A) Has completed a full assessment of the patient's medical or dental history and current medical or dental condition, including a personal physical or dental examination; and

(B) Has responsibility for the ongoing care and treatment of the patient.

(3) “Caregiver” means a person who:

(A) Is designated by a qualifying patient as the person authorized, on the qualifying patient’s behalf, to possess, obtain from a dispensary, dispense, administer, and assist in the administration of medical marijuana;

(B) Is registered with the Department as the qualifying patient’s caregiver;

(C) Is not currently, with the exception of caregivers providing services on behalf of nursing homes and hospices, as those terms are defined in § 44-501(a)(3) and (6)), serving as the caregiver for another qualifying patient; and

(D) Is at least 18 years of age.

(4) “Controlled Substances Act” means Unit A of Chapter 9 of Title 48 [ § 48-901.02 et seq.].

(5) “Cultivation center” means a facility operated by an organization or business registered with the Mayor pursuant to § 7-1671.05 from or at which medical marijuana is cultivated, possessed, manufactured, and distributed in the form of medical marijuana, and paraphernalia is possessed and distributed to dispensaries.

(5A) "Dentist" means an individual who is licensed and in good standing to practice dentistry under District law, but does not include an individual who only holds a dental teaching license.

(6) “Department” means the Department of Health.

(7) “Dispensary” means a facility operated by an organization or business registered with the Mayor pursuant to § 7-1671.05 from or at which medical marijuana is possessed and dispensed and paraphernalia is possessed and distributed to a qualifying patient or a caregiver.

(8) “Dispense” means to distribute medical marijuana to a qualifying patient or caregiver pursuant to this chapter and the rules issued pursuant to § 7-1671.13.

(9) “Distribute” means the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer from one person to another.

(10) “Manufacture” means the production, preparation, propagation, compounding, conversion, or processing of marijuana, either directly or indirectly by extraction from substances of natural origin, or independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and includes any packaging or repackaging of the substance or labeling or re-labeling of its container.

(11) “Marijuana” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 48-901.02(3)(A).

(12) “Medical marijuana” means marijuana cultivated, manufactured, possessed, distributed, dispensed, obtained, or administered in accordance with this chapter and the rules issued pursuant to § 7-1671.13.

(12A) "Medical marijuana product" means a product derived from or composed of medical marijuana, in part or in whole.

(13) “Minor” means any person under 18 years of age, but does not include an emancipated minor.

(13A) "Naturopathic physician" means an individual who is licensed and in good standing to practice naturopathic medicine under District law.

(14) “Paraphernalia” means:

(A) Objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in preparing, storing, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing medical marijuana into the human body; and

(B) Kits, objects, devices, or equipment used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, manufacturing, cultivating, growing, harvesting, processing, or preparing medical marijuana.

(15) “Physician” means an individual who is licensed and in good standing to practice medicine or osteopathy under District law.

(15A) "Physician assistant" means an individual who is licensed and in good standing to practice as a physician assistant under District law.

(16) “Program” means the medical marijuana program established by § 7-1671.05.

(17) “Qualifying medical or dental condition” means any condition for which treatment with medical marijuana would be beneficial, as determined by the patient’s authorized practitioner.

(18) “Qualifying medical or dental treatment” means:

(A) Chemotherapy;

(B) The use of azidothymidine or protease inhibitors;

(C) Radiotherapy; or

(D) Any other treatment, as determined by rulemaking, whose side effects require treatment through the administration of medical marijuana in the same manner as a qualifying medical or dental condition.

(19) “Qualifying patient” means a resident of the District who has a qualifying medical or dental condition or is undergoing a qualifying medical or dental treatment, or a patient enrolled in another jurisdiction's medical marijuana program; provided, that a patient from another jurisdiction shall not be a qualifying patient if the Department determines that there is a shortage of medical marijuana or the real-time electronic records system referenced in § 7-1671.05(4)(A) is inactive.

(19A) "Real-time electronic records" means a records system that is able to track the amount of medical marijuana that District residents and patients from another jurisdiction purchase in real-time.

(20) “Residence” means a dwelling or dwelling unit in which a person lives in a particular locality with the intent to make it a fixed and permanent home.

(21) "Testing laboratory" means an entity that is not owned or operated by a director, officer, member, incorporator, agent, or employee of a cultivation center or dispensary, and is registered by the Department to test medical marijuana and medical marijuana products that are to be sold under this chapter.


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 2; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798; Mar. 10, 2015, D.C. Law 20-189, § 2(a), 61 DCR 12119; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-209, § 2(a), 63 DCR 15291.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 3-1202.03, § 48-904.01, and § 48-1103.

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-189 rewrote (17).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Expansion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-475, July 21, 2016, 63 DCR 10179).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a)(1A) of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Expansion Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-396, May 19, 2016, 63 DCR 7908).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Medical Marijuana Expansion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-3, Feb. 19, 2015, 62 DCR 2468).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2 of Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative Applicability Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-323, March 1, 2010, 57 DCR 1849).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Medical Marijuana Expansion Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-396, July 29, 2014, 61 DCR 8255).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Medical Marijuana Expansion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-479, Nov. 12, 2014, 61 DCR 12129, 20 STAT 4403).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Expansion Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-104, July 20, 2015, 62 DCR 9965).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Expansion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-156, Oct. 16, 2015, 62 DCR 13707).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Expansion Temporary Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Law 21-146, Aug. 19, 2016, 63 DCR 9282).

Section 2 of D.C. Law 18-152 added a section to read as follows:

“Sec. 11a. Applicability. This act shall apply upon the effective date o the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative Amendment Act of 2010, as introduced on January 19, 2010 (D.C. Bill 18-622).”

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 18-152 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Medical Marijuana Expansion Temporary Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Law 20-163, February 26, 2015, 60 DCR 10753).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Expansion Temporary Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Law 21-33, Oct. 21, 2015, 62 DCR 10896).

Editor's Notes

History of D.C. Law 13-315.

Initiative 59, permitting the use of marijuana for medical treatment, was certified as a proper subject for an initiative by the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics on September 17, 1998. In reaction to the certification, Congress enacted and the President signed the “Barr Amendment” that prohibited the use of appropriated funds to conduct any ballot initiative which sought to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with a controlled substance. Since, the ballots for the November 3 election had already been printed before enactment of the Barr Amendment, District voters still considered the initiative.

After the vote, the Board of Elections and Ethics refused, in light of the Barr Amendment, to release and certify the results of the vote on Initiative 59. Certain District of Columbia voters then sued the Board.

In Turner v. District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics, 77 F.Supp.2d 25 (D.D.C. 1999), the court ruled that the Board could count and certify the election results concerning Initiative 59. After the count, the Board announced that Initiative 59 had been approved by the voters and certified the results. The initiative was eventually assigned D.C. Act 13-138.

On October 20, 1999, the District of Columbia Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) submitted a fiscal impact statement that found that implementation of Act 13-138 would have a fiscal impact and recommended that the cost be included in the development of the fiscal year 2001 budget.

On October 25, 1999, the District of Columbia Council transmitted D.C. Act 13-138 to the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority (“Control Board”).

On October 26, 1999, the Control Board informed the Council that it would not accept D.C. Act 13-138 without a revised fiscal impact statement from the CFO.

On September 30, 2001, the Control Board suspended its activities.

Between 1998 and 2009 all District of Columbia appropriations acts contained language that prevented Initiative 59 from taking effect as law. Congress did not include the language in the District of Columbia Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117).

With the removal of the “Bar Amendment”, the Council transmitted Act 13-138 to Congress on December 21, 2009, for a 30-day period of review.

D.C. Act 13-138 became D.C. Law 13-315 on February 25, 2010, and is published at 57 DCR 3360. D.C. Law 18-210 amended D.C. Law 13-315 in its entirety “to read as follows.”

Mayor's Orders

Establishment of Medical Marijuana Program Pursuant to the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1999, see Mayor’s Order 2011-71, April 13, 2011 ( 58 DCR 3527).


§ 7–1671.02. Use of medical marijuana.

(a) Notwithstanding any other District law, a qualifying patient may possess and administer medical marijuana, and possess and use paraphernalia, in accordance with this chapter and the rules issued pursuant to § 7-1671.13.

(b) Notwithstanding any other District law, a caregiver may possess and dispense medical marijuana to a qualifying patient, and possess and use paraphernalia, for the sole purpose of assisting in the administration of medical marijuana to a qualifying patient in accordance with this chapter and the rules issued pursuant to § 7-1671.13.

(c) A qualifying patient may possess and administer medical marijuana, and possess and use paraphernalia, only for treatment of a qualifying medical condition or the side effects of a qualifying medical treatment and only after having:

(1)(A) Obtained a signed, written recommendation from an authorized practitioner in accordance with § 7-1671.04; and

(B) Registered with the Mayor pursuant to § 7-1671.05; or

(2) Enrolled in another jurisdiction's medical marijuana program.

(d) A qualifying patient or caregiver shall only possess, administer, or dispense medical marijuana, or possess or use paraphernalia, obtained from a dispensary registered with the Mayor pursuant to § 7-1671.05.

(e) A qualifying patient who is a minor may possess and administer medical marijuana only if the parent or legal guardian of the minor has signed a written statement affirming that the parent or legal guardian:

(1) Understands the qualifying medical condition or qualifying medical treatment of the minor;

(2) Understands the potential benefits and potential adverse effects of the use of medical marijuana, generally, and, specifically, in the case of the minor;

(3) Consents to the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of the minor’s qualifying medical condition or treatment of the side effects of the minor’s qualifying medical treatment; and

(4) Consents to, or designates another adult to, serve as the caregiver for the qualifying patient and the caregiver controls the acquisition, possession, dosage, and frequency of use of medical marijuana by the qualifying patient.


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 3; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-209, § 2(b), 63 DCR 15291.)

Applicability

Section 7022 of D.C. Law 22-33 repealed § 4 of D.C. Law 21-209. Therefore the changes made to this section by D.C. Law 21-209 have been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 21-209: § 4 of D.C. Law 21-209 provided that the change made to this section by § 2(b) of D.C. Law 21-209 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 4 of D.C. Law 21-209, see § 7022 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 4 of D.C. Law 21-209, see § 7022 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).


§ 7–1671.03. Restrictions on use of medical marijuana.

(a) The maximum amount of medical marijuana that any qualifying patient or caregiver may possess at any moment is 2 ounces of dried medical marijuana; provided, that the Mayor, through rulemaking, may increase the quantity of dried medical marijuana that may be possessed up to 4 ounces; and shall promulgate through rulemaking limits on medical marijuana of a form, other than dried.

(b)(1) Medical marijuana shall not be administered by or to a qualifying patient anywhere other than the qualifying patient's residence, if permitted, the residence of an individual who has given permission to the qualifying patient to administer medical marijuana at his or her residence, if permitted, or at a medical treatment facility when receiving medical care for a qualifying medical condition, if permitted by the facility.

(2) A qualifying patient or caregiver shall not administer medical marijuana at a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory.

(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of this subsection, a qualifying patient shall not use medical marijuana if exposure to the medical marijuana or the medical marijuana smoke would adversely affect the health, safety, or welfare of a minor.

(c) A qualifying patient or caregiver shall transport medical marijuana in a labeled container or sealed package in a manner and method established by rulemaking.

(d) Nothing in this chapter permits a person to:

(1) Undertake any task under the influence of medical marijuana when doing so would constitute negligence or professional malpractice; or

(2) Operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of medical marijuana.

(e) The use of medical marijuana as authorized by this chapter and the rules issued pursuant to § 7-1671.13 does not create a defense to any crime and does not negate the mens rea element for any crime except to the extent of the voluntary-intoxication defense recognized in District of Columbia law.

(f) Notwithstanding any other law, a person or entity may provide information about the existence or operations of a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory to another person pursuant to this law.

(g) A qualified patient, caregiver, or an employee of a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory who is stopped by the police upon reasonable suspicion or probable cause that the stopped individual is in possession of marijuana may not be further detained or arrested on this basis alone if the police determine that he or she is in compliance with this chapter and the rules issued pursuant to § 7-1671.13.


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 4; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-209, § 2(c), 63 DCR 15291.)


§ 7–1671.04. Recommending authorize practitioner; protections.

(a) An authorized practitioner may recommend the use of medical marijuana to a qualifying patient if the authorized practitioner:

(1) Is in a bona fide relationship with the qualifying patient; and

(2) Makes the recommendation based upon the authorized practitioner's assessment of the qualifying patient’s medical or dental history, current medical or dental condition, and a review of other approved medications and treatments that might provide the qualifying patient with relief from a qualifying medical or dental condition or the side effects of a qualifying medical or dental treatment.

(b)(1) An authorized practitioner's recommendation that a qualifying patient may use medical marijuana shall be signed by the authorized practitioner and include:

(A) The authorized practitioner's board-issued license number; and

(B) A statement that the use of medical marijuana is necessary for the treatment of a qualifying medical or dental condition or the side effects of a qualifying medical or dental treatment.

(2) An authorized practitioner's recommendation shall be valid only if it is written on a form prescribed by the Mayor.

(c) Except as provided in § 7-1671.07, a physician [an authorized practitioner] shall not be subject to any penalty, including arrest, prosecution, or disciplinary proceeding, or denial of any right or privilege, for advising a qualifying patient about the use of medical marijuana or recommending the use of medical marijuana to a qualifying patient pursuant to this chapter and the rules issued pursuant to § 7-1671.13.

(d) An authorized practitioner recommending the use of medical marijuana by a qualifying patient shall not have a professional office located at a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory or receive financial compensation from a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory, or a director, officer, member, incorporator, agent, or employee of a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory.


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 5; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-209, § 2(d), 63 DCR 15291.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 3-1202.03 and § 7-1671.02.


§ 7–1671.05. Medical marijuana program.

There is established a medical marijuana program, which shall regulate the manufacture, cultivation, distribution, dispensing, purchase, delivery, sale, possession, testing, and administration of medical marijuana and the manufacture, possession, purchase, sale, and use of paraphernalia. The Program shall be administered by the Mayor and shall:

(1)(A) Require the registration with the Department of all:

(i) Qualifying patients, except qualifying patients enrolled in another jurisdiction's medical marijuana program under § 7-1671.02(c)(2); and

(ii) Caregivers; and

(B) As part of the registration process, require a qualifying patient to:

(i) Repealed.

(ii) Provide a copy of the authorized practitioner's recommendation for the qualifying patient’s use of medical marijuana;

(2) Require the registration of all:

(A) Dispensaries;

(B) Cultivation centers;

(B-i) Testing laboratories; and

(C) Directors, officers, members, incorporators, agents, and employees of dispensaries, cultivation centers, and testing laboratories;

(3) Issue nontransferable registration identification cards that expire annually to registered persons and entities, which may be presented to and used by law enforcement to confirm whether a person or entity is authorized to administer, cultivate, dispense, distribute, test, or possess medical marijuana, or manufacture, possess, or distribute paraphernalia;

(4) Require all dispensaries, cultivation centers, and testing laboratories to:

(A) Maintain true, complete, and real-time electronic records of the following:

(i) The name, address, home telephone number, and date of birth of each employee;

(ii) Each transaction conducted by the facility, including:

(I) The quantity of medical marijuana tested, distributed, or dispensed;

(II) The consideration given for the medical marijuana, if any; and

(III) The recipient of the medical marijuana;

(iii) The quantity of medical marijuana at the dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory;

(iv) The disposal method used for any medical marijuana that was cultivated or acquired but that did not meet the requirements for sale established by the Department through rulemaking under paragraph (5A) of this section or that was not sold for any other reason, including evidence of the disposal of the medical marijuana; and

(v) Any other information required by the Mayor;

(B) Notify the Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department in writing and immediately of the loss, theft, or destruction of any medical marijuana;

(5) Require all dispensaries to maintain true, complete, and current records of:

(A) The name and address of the qualifying patient authorized to obtain the distribution or dispensing of medical marijuana; and

(B) The name and address of the caregiver who receives the medical marijuana;

(5A) Upon the registration of at least one testing laboratory under paragraph (2)(B-i) of this section and pursuant to rules issued by the Department, require that cultivation centers segregate all harvested medical marijuana into batches before manufacturing any medical marijuana product or packaging raw medical marijuana for sale to a dispensary and hold the harvested medical marijuana from sale until:

(A) The medical marijuana has been tested by a testing laboratory;

(B) The cultivation center has received the information required under paragraph (5B) of this section; and

(C) The cultivation center has determined that the medical marijuana meets the requirements for sale established by the Department through rulemaking;

(5B) Require testing laboratories to provide cultivation centers with the following information after testing harvested medical marijuana samples:

(A) The concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in the testing material;

(B) Whether the tested material is organic or non-organic;

(C) The presence and concentration of fertilizers and other nutrients; and

(D) Any other information that the Department may require through rulemaking;

(6) Develop educational materials about potential harmful drug interactions that could occur from using medical marijuana concurrently with other medical treatments and the importance of informing health care providers and pharmacists of the use of medical marijuana to help avoid harmful drug interactions;

(7) Revoke or suspend the registration of any person or entity if the Mayor determines that the person or entity has violated a provision of this chapter or the rules issued pursuant to § 7-1671.13;

(8) Conduct announced and unannounced inspections of dispensaries and cultivation centers;

(9) Establish sliding-scale registration and annual renewal fees for all persons and entities required to register pursuant to this chapter; provided, that the registration and annual renewal fees for dispensaries, cultivation centers, and testing laboratories and for the directors, officers, members, incorporators, agents, and employees of dispensaries, cultivation centers, and testing laboratories shall be sufficient to offset the costs of administering this chapter;

(10) Establish a system to provide for the safe and affordable dispensing of medical marijuana to qualifying patients who are unable to afford a sufficient supply of medical marijuana based upon the qualifying patient’s income and existing financial resources that:

(A) Allows qualifying patients to apply to the Mayor to be eligible to purchase medical marijuana on a sliding scale from dispensaries; and

(B) Requires each dispensary to devote a percentage of its gross revenue, as determined by the Mayor, to providing medical marijuana on the sliding scale to qualifying patients determined eligible pursuant to subparagraph (A) of this paragraph;

(11) Submit to the Council an annual report that does not disclose any identifying information about qualifying patients, caregivers, or authorized practitioners, but that includes:

(A) The number of applications filed for a registration identification card;

(B) The number of qualifying patients and caregivers registered;

(C) The qualifying medical condition or qualifying medical treatment for each qualifying patient;

(D) The number of registration identification cards suspended and the number revoked; and

(E) The number of authorized practitioners providing written recommendations for qualifying patients;

(12) Establish standards by which applicants for dispensary, cultivation center, and testing laboratory registration will be evaluated to determine which applicants will be accepted for registration and renewal of registration, which shall include the following factors:

(A) Knowledge of District and federal law relating to marijuana;

(B) Suitability of the proposed facility;

(C) A proposed staffing plan;

(D) A security plan that has been assessed by the Metropolitan Police Department;

(E) A cultivation plan; and

(F) A product safety and labeling plan;

(13)(A) Provide notice through the mail to the Councilmember and all Advisory Neighborhood Commissions in the affected ward at least 30 days prior to approval of a location for a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory; and

(B) Accord great weight to input provided by the Advisory Neighborhood Commission regarding the proposed location of a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory when approving or rejecting an application for registration; and

(14) Require caregivers and qualifying patients to notify the Department immediately and in writing of the loss, theft, or destruction of a registration identification card.


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 6; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-209, § 2(e), 63 DCR 15291.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-1671.01 and § 7-1671.02.

Applicability

Section 7022 of D.C. Law 22-33 repealed § 4 of D.C. Law 21-209. Therefore the changes made to this section by D.C. Law 21-209 have been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 21-209: § 4 of D.C. Law 21-209 provided that the change made to this section by § 2(e) of D.C. Law 21-209 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 4 of D.C. Law 21-209, see § 7022 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 4 of D.C. Law 21-209, see § 7022 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).

Delegation of Authority

Establishment of Medical Marijuana Program and Delegation of Authority, see Mayor’s Order 2010-138, August 6, 2010 ( 57 DCR 7110).


§ 7–1671.06. Dispensaries and cultivation centers.

(a) Notwithstanding any other District law, a dispensary may possess medical marijuana for the purpose of dispensing the medical marijuana to a qualifying patient or caregiver and may manufacture, purchase, possess, distribute, and use paraphernalia, in accordance with this chapter and the rules issued pursuant to § 7-1671.13.

(b) Notwithstanding any other District law, a cultivation center may cultivate and possess medical marijuana for the purpose of distribution to a dispensary and may manufacture, purchase, possess, and use paraphernalia in accordance with this chapter and the rules issued pursuant to § 7-1671.13.

(b-1) Notwithstanding any other District law, a testing laboratory may possess medical marijuana for the purpose of testing its contents, in accordance with this chapter and the rules issued pursuant to § 7-1671.13.

(c) A dispensary may dispense medical marijuana and distribute paraphernalia to a qualifying patient or the qualifying patient’s caregiver, and a qualifying patient or the qualifying patient’s caregiver may obtain medical marijuana and paraphernalia from a dispensary, only if the qualifying patient is registered to receive medical marijuana from that dispensary.

(d)(1) Each dispensary, cultivation center, and testing laboratory shall be registered with the Mayor prior to manufacturing, cultivating, dispensing, possessing, testing, or distributing medical marijuana, or manufacturing, possessing, using, or distributing paraphernalia.

(2)(A) No more than 5 dispensaries shall be registered to operate in the District; provided, that the Mayor may increase the number to as many as 8 by rulemaking to ensure that qualifying patients have adequate access to medical marijuana; provided further, that no more than 2 dispensaries shall be registered to operate within an election ward established by the Council in § 1-1041.03.

(B) The prohibition of no more than 2 dispensaries being registered to operate within an election ward set forth in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall apply to applications pending as of December 13, 2013.

(C)(i) No more than one dispensary may be registered to operate in any election ward in which 5 or more cultivation centers have been registered to operate.

(ii) The prohibition of no more than one dispensary being registered to operate within an election ward in which 5 or more cultivation centers have been registered to operate set forth in sub-subparagraph (i) of this subparagraph shall apply to applications pending as of December 13, 2013.

(3)(A) The number of cultivation centers and testing laboratories that may be registered to operate in the District shall be determined by rulemaking; provided, that the combined total number of cultivation centers and testing laboratories registered to operate within an election ward established by the Council in § 1-1041.03, shall not exceed 6.

(B) The prohibition of no more than 6 cultivation centers being registered to operate within an election ward set forth in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall apply to applications pending as of Dec. 13, 2013.

(C) Any applicant that submitted an application on July 19, 2015, for a registration to operate a cultivation center shall be allowed to modify the location of the cultivation center on its application without negatively affecting the current status of the application.

(4) The Mayor may approve the holder of a cultivation center registration that also owns, or has a valid lease for, real property adjacent to its existing cultivation center to physically expand the registered cultivation center into that adjacent real property for the purpose of increasing production of medical marijuana.

(5)(A) Any application for registration of a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory submitted by a certified business enterprise pursuant to this subsection after June 28, 2017, shall be awarded a preference equal to 20 points or 7.5% of the available points, whichever is more.

(B) For the purposes of this paragraph, the term "certified business enterprise" shall have the same meaning as provided in § 2-218.02(1D).

(e)(1) A dispensary may not dispense more than 2 ounces of medical marijuana in a 30-day period to a qualifying patient, either directly or through the qualifying patient’s caregiver; provided, that the Mayor, through rulemaking, may increase the quantity of medical marijuana that may be dispensed to up to 4 ounces.

(2) A cultivation center shall not possess more than 1,000 living marijuana plants at any time.

(3) It shall be unlawful for a dispensary to dispense or possess more than the quantity of medical marijuana needed to support the number of qualifying patients or caregivers registered to receive medical marijuana at that dispensary, as determined by the Mayor pursuant to rules issued under § 7-1671.13; provided, that the Mayor may allow a dispensary to possess a higher quantity of medical marijuana in anticipation of additional qualifying patients or caregivers registering.

(f) No marijuana or paraphernalia at a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory shall be visible from any public or other property.

(g) A dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory shall not locate within any residential district or within 300 feet of a preschool, primary or secondary school, or recreation center.

(g-1)(1) A cultivation center shall not be located within a Retail Priority Area, as designated pursuant to § 2-1217.73, and as approved by the Council pursuant to the Great Streets Neighborhood Retail Priority Areas Approval Resolution of 2007, effective July 10, 2007 (Res. 17-257; 54 DCR 7194).

(2) Any applicant that had an application pending as of June 20, 2012, for a registration to operate a cultivation center within a Retail Priority Area as identified in paragraph (1) of this subsection, shall be allowed to modify the application within 180 days of May 1, 2013, without negatively affecting the current status of the application.

(g-2) A dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory may be permitted to relocate to any election ward upon approval from the Mayor; provided, that no more than 2 dispensaries and 6 cultivation centers may be registered to operate within an election ward.

(g-3) A dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory may be permitted to change ownership or controlling interest upon approval from the Mayor.

(h) Each dispensary, cultivation center, and testing laboratory" shall:

(1) Be either a for-profit or nonprofit corporation incorporated within the District;

(2) Implement a security plan to prevent the theft or diversion of medical marijuana, including maintaining all medical marijuana in a secure, locked room that is accessible only by authorized persons; and

(3) Ensure that all of its employees receive training on compliance with District law, medical marijuana use, security, and theft prevention.

(i) Each dispensary shall regularly distribute to all qualifying patients and caregivers the educational materials regarding potential harmful drug interactions developed as part of the Program.

(j) No director, officer, member, incorporator, agent, or employee of a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory who has access to the medical marijuana at the dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory shall have a felony conviction; provided, that the Mayor shall not disqualify any of the forgoing individuals solely for a felony conviction of possession with intent to distribute marijuana that occurred before the July 17, 2014.

(k) A person found to have violated any provision in this chapter shall not be a director, officer, member, incorporator, agent, or employee of a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing labor, and the registration identification card of the person shall be immediately revoked and the registration of the dispensary, cultivation center, or testing labor shall be suspended until the person is no longer a director, officer, member, incorporator, agent, or employee of the dispensary, cultivation center, or testing labor.


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 7; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798; Dec. 13, 2013, D.C. Law 20-59, § 2, 60 DCR 15484; Mar. 10, 2015, D.C. Law 20-189, § 2(b), 61 DCR 12119; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-209, § 2(f), 63 DCR 15291; July 17, 2018, D.C. Law 22-128, § 2, 65 DCR 5755; Apr. 11, 2019, D.C. Law 22-288, § 205, 66 DCR 1656; May 10, 2019, D.C. Law 22-313, § 11, 66 DCR 1627.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 20-59 rewrote (d); and added (g-1).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-189 substituted “500 living marijuana plants” for “95 living marijuana plants” in (e)(2).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Relocation Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-645, Feb. 6, 2019, 66 DCR 2052).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Certified Business Enterprise Preference Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-334, May 3, 2018, 65 DCR 5058).

For temporary (90 days) , see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Relocation Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-109, July 28, 2017, 64 DCR 7394).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Certified Business Enterprise Preference Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-83, June 28, 2017, 64 DCR 6229).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Relocation Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-74, June 5, 2017, 64 DCR 6078).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-18, Mar. 17, 2017, 64 DCR 3055).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-573, Dec. 19, 2016, 63 DCR 15689).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Expansion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-475, July 21, 2016, 63 DCR 10179).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Relocation Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-427, June 23, 2016, 63 DCR 9022).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Expansion Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-396, May 19, 2016, 63 DCR 7908).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of Medical Marijuana Expansion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-3, Feb. 19, 2015, 62 DCR 2468).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center and Dispensary Locations Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-299, January 31, 2012, 59 DCR 902).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-339, April 7, 2012, 59 DCR 2784).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-4, January 29, 2013, 60 DCR 2790, 20 DCSTAT 438).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center and Dispensary Location Restriction Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-18, March 1, 2013, 60 DCR 3972, 20 DCSTAT 474).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-61, April 27, 2013, 60 DCR 6401, 20 DCSTAT 1408).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see §§ 2 and 3 of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-263, January 9, 2014, 61 DCR 328).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Medical Marijuana Expansion Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-396, July 29, 2014, 61 DCR 8255).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Medical Marijuana Expansion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-479, Nov. 12, 2014, 61 DCR 12129, 20 STAT 4403).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-36, Mar. 30, 2015, 62 DCR 4548, 21 DCSTAT 876).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Medical Marijuana Supply Shortage Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-53, May 6, 2015, 62 DCR 5950, 21 DCSTAT 1428).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Exception Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-64, May 22, 2015, 62 DCR 6863, 21 DCSTAT 1443).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Expansion Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-104, July 20, 2015, 62 DCR 9965).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Expansion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-156, Oct. 16, 2015, 62 DCR 13707).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Certified Business Enterprise Preference Temporary Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Law 22-18, Sept. 6, 2017, 64 DCR 6715).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Relocation Temporary Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Law 22-14, Aug. 19, 2017, 64 DCR 6247).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Temporary Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Law 21-234, Apr. 1, 2017, 64 DCR 883).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Relocation Temporary Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Law 21-162, Oct. 13, 2016, 63 DCR 9815).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Expansion Temporary Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Law 21-146, Aug. 19, 2016, 63 DCR 9282).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center and Dispensary Locations Temporary Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Law 19-122, Apr. 27, 2012, 59 DCR 1705).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Temporary Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Law 19-146, Jun. 20, 2012, 59 DCR 4164).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Temporary Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-1, May 1, 2013, 60 DCR 3962, 20 DCSTAT 1262).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center and Dispensary Location Restriction Temporary Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-2, May 18, 2013, 60 DCR 4620, 20 DCSTAT 1264).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Medical Marijuana Expansion Temporary Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Law 20-163, February 26, 2015, 60 DCR 10753).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Medical Marijuana Supply Shortage Temporary Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Law 21-18, July 22, 2015, 62 DCR 6880).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Exception Temporary Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Law 21-22, Sept. 17, 2015, 62 DCR 8850).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center Expansion Temporary Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Law 21-33, Oct. 21, 2015, 62 DCR 10896).


§ 7–1671.07. Health Occupations Boards review of medical marijuana authorized practitioner recommendations.

(a) The Boards of Medicine, Nursing, and Dentistry" shall have the authority to review and audit the written authorized practitioner recommendations submitted to the Department as part of the registration process and shall have the authority to discipline authorized practitioners under their licensing authority who act outside of the scope of this chapter.

(b) The relevant licensing board shall audit the recommendations submitted by any authorized practitioner who provides more than 250 recommendations in any 12-month period to patients for the use of medical marijuana.

(c) Submitting a false statement regarding a qualifying patient’s eligibility to participate in the Program on the form developed pursuant to § 7-1761.04(b)(2) shall be grounds for the revocation, suspension, or denial of an authorized practitioner's license, or the imposition of a civil fine pursuant to § 3-1205.14(c), or both, at the licensing board's discretion.


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 8; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-209, § 2(g), 63 DCR 15291.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 3-1202.03 and § 7-1671.04.


§ 7–1671.08. Penalties.

(a) Any person who manufactures, cultivates, possesses, administers, dispenses, distributes, or uses marijuana, or manufactures, possesses, distributes, or uses paraphernalia, in a manner not authorized by this chapter or the rules issued pursuant to § 7-1671.13 shall be subject to criminal prosecution and sanction under subchapter I of Chapter 11 of Title 48 [§ 48-1101 et seq.].

(b) Any person who makes a fraudulent representation to a law enforcement official of any fact or circumstance relating to the person’s manufacture, cultivation, possession, administration, dispensing, distribution, or use of medical marijuana, or manufacture, possession, distribution, or use of paraphernalia, to avoid arrest or prosecution shall be subject to a criminal fine not to exceed $1,000. The imposition of the fine shall be in addition to any other penalties that may otherwise apply for the making of a false statement or for the manufacture, cultivation, possession, administration, dispensing, distribution, or use of marijuana, or the manufacture, possession, distribution, or use of paraphernalia.

(c) It shall be an affirmative defense to a criminal charge of possession or distribution of marijuana, or possession with intent to distribute marijuana, that the person charged with the offense is a person who:

(1) Was in possession of medical marijuana only inside the qualifying patient’s residence or a medical treatment facility;

(2) Only administered or assisted in administering the medical marijuana to the qualifying patient and only within the qualifying patient’s residence or at a permitted medical treatment facility;

(3) Assisted the qualifying patient only when the caregiver was not reasonably available to provide assistance; and

(4) Is 18 years of age or older.

(d) Civil fines, penalties, and fees may be imposed as sanctions for any infraction of the provisions of this chapter, or any rules issued under § 7-1671.13, pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2 [§ 2-1801.01 et seq.]. Adjudication of any infraction of this chapter shall be pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2 [§ 2-1801.01 et seq.].


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 9; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798.)


§ 7–1671.09. Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee.

(a) The Mayor shall establish a Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee (“Committee”), which shall monitor:

(1) Best practices in other states that allow the use of medical marijuana;

(2) Scientific research on the medical use of marijuana; and

(3) The effectiveness of the District’s medical marijuana program.

(b) No later than January 1, 2012, the Committee shall submit a report to the Mayor and the Council recommending:

(1) Whether the District of Columbia should allow qualifying patients and caregivers to cultivate medical marijuana;

(2) How to implement and regulate cultivation of medical marijuana by qualifying patients and caregivers; and

(3) Any other comments the Committee believes to be important.


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 10; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798.)


§ 7–1671.10. Fees.

(a) The Mayor is authorized to establish, by rulemaking, fees for the registration of caregivers, cultivation centers, dispensaries, testing laboratories, and qualifying patients and for the inspection and audit of cultivation centers, dispensaries, and testing laboratories.

(b) Any of the fees collected pursuant to this chapter shall be applied first toward the cost of administering this chapter.


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 11; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-209, § 2(h), 63 DCR 15291.)


§ 7–1671.11. Liability.

(a) No liability shall be imposed by virtue of this chapter upon any duly authorized District officer engaged in the enforcement of any law relating to controlled substances.

(b) The District shall not be held liable for any deleterious outcomes from the use of medical marijuana, including the acts or omissions of any qualifying patient attributed to the use of medical marijuana.


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 12; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798.)


§ 7–1671.12. Public and private insurance.

Nothing in this chapter shall require a governmental, private, or any other health insurance provider or health care service plan to be liable for any claim for reimbursement for the use of medical marijuana.


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 13; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798.)


§ 7–1671.13. Rules.

(a) The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.], shall issue rules to implement the provisions of this chapter, including rules to:

(1) Adopt manufacturing practices that cultivation centers and dispensaries shall be required to comply with to ensure that medical marijuana sold by cultivation centers and dispensaries is of pharmaceutical grade;

(2) Ensure that the labeling on medical marijuana sold by cultivation centers and dispensaries provides sufficient and accurate information, verified by a testing laboratory, for qualifying patients to be able to make informed choices;

(3) Ensure that each cultivation center, dispensary, and testing laboratory has appropriate signage and outdoor lighting and an appropriate security system, security plan, and theft prevention plan;

(4) Limit the hours during which dispensaries, cultivation enters, and testing laboratories may operate;

(5) Determine, for the purpose of ensuring that qualifying patients have adequate access to medical marijuana, the number of cultivation centers that may operate in the District, based on the number of qualifying patients expected to register in the first year of the Program’s operation; provided, that the Mayor may adjust this number through rulemaking based on:

(A) The number of registered qualifying patients; and

(B) The number of qualifying patients expected to register in the subsequent 180 days;

(6) Determine the amount of any registration fee for any dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory;

(7) Determine the forms of medical marijuana that dispensaries and cultivation centers shall be permitted to dispense or distribute; and

(8) Within 6 months after the , determine the process for permitting a dispensary, cultivation center, or testing laboratory to:

(A) Relocate within an election ward, established by the Council in § 1-1041.03, pursuant to § 7-1671.06(g-2); and

(B) Change ownership or controlling interest pursuant to § 7-1671.06(g-3).

(b) The Mayor shall submit the proposed rules to the Council for a 30-day period of review, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays, and days of Council recess. If the Council does not approve or disapprove the proposed rules, in whole or in part, by resolution, within this 30-day review period, the proposed rules shall be deemed approved.


(Feb. 25, 2010, D.C. Law 13-315, § 14; as added July 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-210, § 2, 57 DCR 4798; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-209, § 2(i), 63 DCR 15291.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-1671.01, § 7-1671.02, § 7-1671.03, § 7-1671.04, § 7-1671.05, § 7-1671.06, and § 7-1671.08.