When we started Puff, Pass & Paint in Washington DC in summer of 2016, I hadn’t been to the capital city since I was a kid with my parents. I guess I realized that DC had legalized possession of cannabis and medical use, but somehow it still hadn’t come fully onto my radar as an option for cannabis tourism. Our country’s capital made cannabis fully recreational for CONSUMPTION and legal for medical purchase in 2014, but options for tourists who do not have a medical card and don’t grow their own are very limited, which makes it a bit of a challenge for someone who is traveling to legal cannabis destinations. I would paraphrase here, but honestly Matt Laslo from Rolling Stone said it best in his Guide to Legal Pot: Washington DC:
“Voters here resoundingly approved a ballot initiative in 2014 that legalized recreational pot, but the Constitution gives Congress unique authority to control the decisions made by local officials who run the federal city. So after local voters spoke, Congress intervened and passed a law that prohibits D.C. from spending its own money to regulate weed. That’s left marijuana policy here in limbo: You can legally possess and grow weed, smoke it on your property and have it in public, but in the District of Columbia, you can’t legally sell or buy weed.” – Matt Laslo
However, reciprocity in Washington DC began in January of 2018, but only for 16 states… so if you’re lucky enough to hail from any those locations, you’re able to buy your goods at any medical dispensary (find a full list here). I can’t legally tell you to fly or cross state lines with cannabis products, but you’re probably as much of an expert as I am in the matter, and I trust that you’ll figure out a way to get what you need so that you can enjoy your trip to the district. To get around the issue of not being able to sell or buy cannabis, there are plenty of companies who “gift” whatever product you want when you buy something to go along with it… say a really expensive pair of weed-themed socks comes with an ounce of your favorite sticky icky. Again, I can’t speak to the legality of these transactions, wink wink, but they are there and those gray area options seem to be thriving in DC.
One of the coolest things about Washington DC is that pretty much all landmarks, museums, and zoos are free, and if you’re like me, there’s nothing better than wandering around partially stoned with a vape pen and getting my steps on in a new city. Among the best free museums in DC, not to mention in the world, is the National Gallery of Art, U.S Botanic Garden, the Air and Space museum, National Museum of Natural History, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (which is brand new and only opened in 2016!). All of these spots are right off the National Mall, which means you can hit multiple museums in a day… just make sure you’re staying hydrated in DC’s humid summers, and staying satisfied, because hanger is no joke (my boyfriend and my friends will confirm this). DC’s Zoo is also free and absolutely incredible. It’s a wooded 163 acres with lots of open-air viewing areas which makes you feel like the animals are relatively pretty happy in their habitats…. I mean, when I made eye contact with the Bonobos they seemed pretty chill, but I had also just smoked a joint on a secluded trail in the zoo forest. If you’re heading to DC in April, you’ll get a chance to hit not only the National Cannabis Festival, but the Cherry Blossom festival, which lasts through March and April, and those blossoms possibly smell even better than the judging room at a cannabis cup.
Last but absolutely certainly not least, my recommendations for eating your way through the nation’s capital: Carmine’s Italian Restaurant (hit this place up for dinner after walking around the National Mall because it’s right there… the pasta is incredible and the portions are HUGE, so go hungry). Shanghai Tokyo sushi offers 5-star food at a 2-star price, Amsterdam Falafel is a great stoner stop in the popular neighborhood Adam’s Morgan, and Songbyrd DC has an incredible brunch and a vinyl store to boot. My friend Maishah, who is a DC local and has lived in Columbia Heights for many years, says that Taste of Jamaica is the ONLY place that makes roti and curry like her mom did growing up. End your night with a spoken word show, poetry reading, musical performance, or “Drunkaoke” at Madam’s Organ in Adam’s Morgan… it’s a really, really weird place with lots of murals, found art, and an incredible happy hour. Make sure you go there on one of your first nights in town, because you’re sure to be drawn back… it’s just too quirky and entertaining to stay away, and there’s always something fun going on.
DC remains one of my favorite cities in the country, not only because of the (mostly) legal weed, great food, monuments, history, and culture (and free stuff, I love free stuff!), but also because in my opinion it really blends a fast-paced city vibe with southern hospitality and friendliness… whenever I’ve been in DC, I’ve never had a shortage of people offering to help me with directions, open doors for me, and even buy me lunch and drinks if we struck up a conversation at a restaurant. Sure, it may not be the easiest place to take a cannabis vacation, but the rest of it completely makes up for the lack of easy weed, and every time I’ve visited, I honestly feel like I’m coming home… and man, that doesn’t happen everywhere. That’s a good, solid feeling, for a good, solid place.
Nga.gov usbg.gov nmaahc.si.edu hirshhorn.si.edu falafelshop.com songbyrddc.com nationalzoo.si.edu airandspace.si.edu madamsorgan.com naturalhistory.si.edu nps.gov/nama/index.htm shanghaitokyocafedc.com nationalcannabisfestival.com nationalcherryblossomfestival.org carminesnyc.com
To read more musings to make you ponder, click here.