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Can you smoke weed here? A look at the DC, Maryland and Virginia laws

DC police remind residents to "smoke your marijuana responsibly," and also review DC weed law.
Credit: John Henry
Some cannabis advocates believe medical marijuana can provide relief to Americans suffering from opioid use disorder.

Saturday is 4/20, a celebrated day among marijuana smokers – but is it actually legal to smoke weed where you live?

Last year, DC police sent out a tweet reminding residents to “smoke your marijuana responsibly,” and also review DC weed law.

“The little bit of time it takes to read over these quick facts, is worth more than the time you could spend behind bars!” They wrote.

Depending on where you live in the DMV, you may be legally able to partake in 4/20, but be warned: restrictions still apply.

RELATED: What a change in pot policy means for DC, Md.

In D.C., possession of small amounts of marijuana became legal in February 2015. However, that’s only if you’re 21 and over.

According to DC law, a person who is at least 21 years old can:

  • Possess two ounces or less of marijuana;
  • Transfer one ounce or less of marijuana to another person who is at least 21 years old, so long as there is no payment made or any other type of exchange of goods or services;
  • Cultivate within their residence up to six marijuana plants, no more than three of which are mature;
  • Possess marijuana-related drug paraphernalia – such as bongs, cigarette rolling papers, and cigar wrappers – that is associated with one ounce or less of marijuana; or
  • Use marijuana on private property.

So, essentially, you only may possess small amounts of weed, you may not buy or sell it, and you may only use it on private property.

RELATED: Medical cannabis oil bill approved by all Virginia lawmakers

Possessing marijuana under the age of 21, operating a vehicle under the influence, selling it, or using it in public spaces can result in criminal charges.

In Maryland, recreational marijuana is not legal; however, possession of marijuana of less than 10 grams has been decriminalized.

Medical marijuana, on the other hand, is legal. Patients must register through the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, get certification from a registered doctor, and receive their medication through a licensed dispensary.

In January 2019, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced her office will not prosecute marijuana possession cases. 

The state's attorney in Baltimore says her office will no longer prosecute any marijuana possession cases, regardless of the quantity of the drug or an individual's prior criminal record. 

According to an AP report, Mosby said pot possession cases have no public safety value, waste money, and disproportionately impact communities of color. "No one who is serious about public safety can honestly say that spending resources to jail people for marijuana use is a smart way to use our limited time and money," Mosby said.

In Virginia, recreational and medical marijuana is illegal, except for some cases. In 2015, a law passed allowing the use of cannabidiol oil for patients with epilepsy. A licensed doctor must write the prescription.

However, on March 9, 2018, the Virginia governor signed a bill that would expand the use of medical cannabis oil beyond patients with epilepsy and will now include all patients who are recommended by their licensed doctor. This is known as an affirmative defense – meaning a patient must provide written certification.

This all accounts for state law – federally, marijuana is still illegal. In fact, the Department of Justice issued a memo in January 2018, calling for all U.S. attorneys to enforce federal policy on marijuana.

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