Donating in Washington DC: A step-by-step guide from a NoVA native

An addict with money buys a dose from a dealer on the street. Addiction concept.

I remember the days of old, sending T-9 text messages, sitting and waiting for hours, calling scores of people. Finally someone calls, and you have to go meet them in a parking lot, or some other creatively shady way.  In the end, you were lucky to end up with a bag that was less than 50% seeds. This was the Northern Virginia/ DC experience of my early twenties, and thankfully for you, those days are long gone. Personally, I’ve played many parts in the recreational cannabis system in Washington, DC. From consumer to employee, I’ve gathered enough knowledge to help you have a buttery smooth experience donating in Washington, DC. We’ll cover everything from how to find what you need, to what to do upon pickup (or delivery).

First Things First: You’re not Buying Anything

The first thing we’re going to establish is that when donating in Washington, DC, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Nothing more. Nothing Less. Per Initiative 71, which legalizes possession of minimal amounts of marijuana for personal use, compliance guidelines state:

An individual 21 years of age or older will be able to lawfully:

  • Possess two ounces or less of marijuana;  
  • Use marijuana on private property
  • Transfer one ounce or less of marijuana to another person, as long as: (1) no money, goods or services are exchanged; and (2) the recipient is 21 years of age or older;
  • Cultivate within his or her primary residence up to six marijuana plants, no more than three of which are mature.

However, also per Initiative 71, it remains a crime for anyone to: 

  • Possess more than two ounces of marijuana;
  • Smoke or otherwise consume marijuana on public space or anywhere to which the public is invited; including restaurants, bars, and coffee shops; 
  • Sell any amount of marijuana to another person; or 
  • Operate a vehicle or boat under the influence of marijuana.

It remains a crime to sell any amount, which is why there’s nothing for sale. When speaking with a vendor for the first time, remember they are not offering anything to you for sale. You are often making a donation, and in many ways, you will receive a free gift, often in the form of your favorite cannabis products. If not this way, you are making a donation to their service, or cause, but whatever it may be, it’s always and forever a donation. IT’S ALWAYS AND FOREVER A DONATION.

Donating in Washington, D.C: Finding a Vendor

The west face of the US Capitol at dawn reflecting in the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Autumn foliage.

Now that you’re ready to donate, you need to find a vendor. Luckily for you, you won’t have to do all the things I had to do in my youth, because you have Here’s Weed. Click dispensaries, and once you get good, browse through each dispensary available. Most of them will have different flowers, concentrates, and  edibles, among other items. For the sake of learning, let’s use Capital Buds, since it’s the first dispensary available (I’ve also browsed their menu, and it’s REALLY extensive). At the very top of their page (as well as others) you will see a phone number. This is how you will make contact with vendors. I can safely say that most of them prefer to use text messaging (sms), so don’t be afraid to send a text. 

Find trusted local vendors in the D.C. Metropolitan area. Here’s Weed.

You may receive a text/call if there is an issue, or if your courier is updating you, so make sure to KEEP YOUR PHONE NEAR YOU. These vendors are very busy servicing all the legal cannabis needs of Washington, DC, so time is important. Just make sure to keep your phone near you, and you’ll be able to stay in contact with your vendor.

Be friendly, and be ready to show your I.D.

Since this is your first time donating, keep in mind, the vendor has never met you before either. One way to verify you as a donator, and for you to know that you’re dealing with a legitimate vendor, is to ask for your ID. Don’t take it personal! It’s a safety measure for everyone involved, and vendors aren’t making efforts to steal your identity. Showing your ID verifies that you are legally capable of donating in Washington, DC, so don’t be afraid to do it! Some vendors may not ask, but you can be sure that you’re dealing with a legitimate vendor if they ask for your ID up front. 

After you’ve been verified, browse the menu, and if you have them, ask questions! If you’re unsure of a product, or have questions about something, ask. There’s a lot of products available on the market, so it’s understood that you may have questions, especially if this is your first time. In most of my experiences, vendors have been very helpful in guiding me to the right products. I recommend you ask questions.

Donating in Washington DC: Cash on Delivery (because cash is king)

After your questions have been answered and your vendor understands your desired items, you will be provided your donation total. Be sure to provide a good address, so the courier can find you. Almost all vendors deliver within the city limits of Washington, D.C., but if you’re coming in from Virginia, Maryland, or elsewhere, your vendor is going to likely meet you at a designated location. Wait for instructions on this location, and when it is provided, communicate with your vendor about arrivals and pickup times. It is important to stay in contact with your vendor if you’re coming from out of town, so have your phone on, and make sure it’s charged!

Some vendors will deliver directly to you, while others operate on route scheduling. Route scheduling often has a vendor sending a courier out at a certain time, rather than directly to you, so feel free to ask your vendor what kind of delivery they do, or what an estimated delivery time would be, if they haven’t already provided one. Give them some time to figure it out though, as you are likely not the only one that is donating in Washington, DC at that time.

Some vendors allow prepayment, which is personally my favorite option. You can avoid the awkward nervousness that comes with a hand-to-hand exchange, and it allows for a quick, clean exit. Most vendors, however, take cash, and that is 100% ok as well. If you don’t already have it, make sure you give yourself enough time to get to an ATM. You’ll want to have your cash ready when your courier arrives. Having the right amount of cash available in hand:

  • Makes your transaction smooth
  • Prevents delays
  • Allows for a clean and quick exit 

Most vendors that don’t carry change. This is for safety reasons, so be sure to ask your vendor at the time of placing your order if couriers are able to make change. If not, make sure that you have exact change available. If you’re disabled and need someone to come to the door, most are willing to work with, and even have discounts for, disabled peoples and veterans. Otherwise, you will likely meet your courier outside. When they arrive, they will likely be the car that looks like it’s waiting, but if you’re unsure, call. It’s ok to ask what care they’re in, if they haven’t told you already. When you see them, walk up to the PASSENGER SIDE WINDOW. If you go to the driver’s side, a lot of couriers will direct you to that side anyway. 

This is a pro tip: to make the courier feel safe, walk up to the passenger side window. They aren’t trying to steal your money, because they have a reputation that they would like to maintain. Stealing your money isn’t good for business, so when approaching the window, try to not be apprehensive. Hand the courier your donation, receive your items, and congratulate yourself for successfully donating in Washington, DC for the first time!

Naturally, the next step would be to enjoy your products, but it’s ok to look and make sure that you’ve got everything you need. If there’s an item missing, or your order is incorrect, let your courier know, or feel free to text the vendor if the courier has already left.

In Conclusion:

Be patient! This is a unique service that experiences unique parameters and obstacles, so understand that your vendors are trying to get to you as soon as possible. Consider busy days, like Fridays and the weekend, city events, rush-hour traffic (famous in the DMV), and anything else that could present issues for delivery. These vendors are providing a service, and they don’t have to provide it to you. If you come off as rude or otherwise, services may not work with you. Help them help you by being patient and considerate. When donating in Washington, D.C., you’re getting some of the best products available on the east coast. These vendors work hard so they can offer you extensive menus. Remember, everything is a donation, you’re not buying anything. With that, I wish you good luck on your first donation, and I hope you find your go-to vendor in DC!

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