How to Get A Medical Marijuana Card in Washington D.C. Step by Step

Numerous states across the United States have created medical marijuana programs to provide people with chronic conditions with alternative medication. Some of the states with active programs include Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maine, Connecticut, New York, and Minnesota. Not only that, but the District of Columbia has designed its own program as well.

Any resident of Washington D.C. can easily secure the right to use medical marijuana to manage the symptoms of any medical condition that affects their daily life. The District of Columbia issues medical marijuana cards through the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).

As a cardholder, you can shop at any of the seven licensed dispensaries throughout the District of Columbia. The only way to legally purchase dried cannabis and medical marijuana products is by registering as a patient.

In July 2022, Washington D.C. simplified the application process and allowed patients to begin making marijuana purchases as soon as they received their temporary registration. Keep reading to learn about each step of the application process so you can compile a strong application and quickly secure approval.

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Step 1: Identify Your Qualifying Condition

You can receive a recommendation to treat yourself with medical marijuana for any physical and psychological condition if a doctor believes the treatment can effectively manage your symptoms.

Knowledge about cannabis' therapeutic value is growing based on reports from patients and the growing body of research. As of May 2021, more than 5 million patients in the United States are registered medical marijuana users.

You may qualify for medical marijuana if you experience a condition that impedes your ability to function day-to-day, like chronic pain, neuropathy, anxiety, depression, arthritis, or digestive disorders.

Many patients with neurodegenerative conditions, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, and other chronic illnesses use cannabis to cope with the symptoms of their illnesses. Marijuana is also commonly used to manage the effects of cancer, cancer treatments, and terminal conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Step 2: Meet with A Licensed Physician

The next step is to schedule a consultation with a trained medical marijuana physician to determine your suitability for medical marijuana. While cannabis has a relatively low risk of dependence, complications and side effects are possible, just like any other medical treatment.

During your consultation, you should discuss how the symptoms of your health condition affect your life. The doctor will assess cannabis’ ability to help. They will also rule out potential interactions with your current medications and other possible complications to treatment.

The doctor will answer all your questions about medical marijuana and help you understand how the treatment can impact your qualifying medical condition(s). Meeting with a doctor will help you set realistic goals for cannabis use and maximize your treatment outcome.

Although Washington D.C. allows patients to self-certify for medical marijuana cards, meeting with a physician is the best way to maximize the safety and effectiveness of your medical cannabis use.

Step 3: Compile the Necessary Paperwork

After meeting with a healthcare provider, your next step is to assemble the paperwork needed for your application to the District’s medical cannabis program. Be sure to retain original copies of your documents. The submitted paperwork should be clear and legible to ensure ABRA can quickly process the application.

The required documents include:

  • Your Social Security Number or a sworn affidavit stating why you lack one
  • A clear and current 2"x2" photo of your face
  • Either a copy of your D.C. DMV REAL ID or one proof of residency document and a copy of a government-issued photo ID, such as your driver’s license
  • Your doctor-issued recommendation to treat yourself with medical marijuana dated within two years of your application date

Step 4: Submit Your Application

As a qualifying patient, you can apply for a medical cannabis card online using the simple electronic application form and uploading your supplemental documents. The form must be completed in a single session because you cannot save your progress.

Washington D.C. accepts in-person medical marijuana patient applications at the ABRA office, located on the first floor of the Reeves Center at 2000 14th Street NW, Suite 102A, Washington, DC 20009. You cannot schedule an appointment. The office accepts walk-ins Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.

You can also complete a paper application and submit it by mail to ABRA at 2000 14th Street NW, Suite 102A, Washington, DC 20009.

If you are a minor (under 18 years of age), a parent or guardian must apply to be your designated caregiver. They will then be able to visit medical marijuana dispensaries and purchase medical cannabis products on your behalf.

Step 5: Receive Your Medical Marijuana Card

You will receive a temporary registration via email when your online application is received. You can use the temporary form to purchase cannabis for 30 days while ABRA processes your application. Washington D.C. dispensaries carry a wide variety of medical marijuana products, such as edibles, concentrates, marijuana flower, and more.

Your permanent electronic registration and physical medical marijuana card will be delivered within 30 days of your application submission. Cards are valid for two years.

The application fee for a medical marijuana card is $100. Applicants enrolled in Medicaid or D.C. Alliance qualify for a reduced fee. The District of Columbia has waived the submission fee for new and renewal card applications submitted by December 8, 2022.

Need Help Obtaining A Washington D.C. Medical Marijuana Card?

The medical marijuana program run by the Washington D.C. Department of Health (DOH) prioritizes medical cannabis patients’ rights and access to marijuana. The Sanctuary can help you understand the program eligibility requirements and connect you with a compassionate medical marijuana doctor who can explain the benefits of cannabis.

We can also help you compile the paperwork necessary to secure an MMJ card and advise you on the District’s application process. By submitting an electronic application to ABRA, you can obtain the right to begin purchasing cannabis the same day you apply. Contact us today to learn more.