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District of Columbia Drug Cultivation and Distribution Laws

Anytime you're involved with illicit drugs, you run the risk of being arrested for various drug crimes. In the District of Columbia, your charges will depend on the type of drug, its location, and its intended use. Depending on these factors you may face charges in violation of D.C.'s drug laws, such as:

  • Possession with the intent to sell;
  • Manufacturing a controlled substance; or
  • Distribution of a controlled substance.

Classification of Controlled Substances in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia classifies controlled substances by "schedules." The schedules range on a scale of I- V with I as the most dangerous level with a high risk of addiction and V representing the least dangerous level with the lowest risk of abuse potential. There have been efforts to change the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance, but it remains that way even though it's treated differently than other Schedule I substances.

Marijuana Cultivation in the District of Columbia

The law in D.C. legalizes marijuana possession in minimal amounts, and allows for limited cultivation as well. It's lawful to possess, grow, harvest, or process limited amounts of marijuana so long as it's within your home.

Overview of the District of Columbia's Drug Cultivation and Distribution Laws

For a complete legal analysis, it's important to understand the language in any statutes that apply. However, often this language is filled with legalese, so it can be helpful to first look at a plain language version of the content. See the chart below for a concise overview of the drug cultivation and distribution laws in D.C.

Statute

District of Columbia Code Division VIII, Section 48-904.01

Legal Acts

 

 

The following actions related to marijuana are legal in DC:

  • Possession of 2 oz. or less.
  • Non-payment transfer of 1 oz. or less to another individual who is at least 21 years old.
  • Cultivation within an individual's residence of up to 6 marijuana plants, with 3 or less maturing, flowering plants.

Prohibited Acts

In the District of Columbia, it is illegal for a defendant to knowingly:

  • Make or sell controlled substances;
  • Possess a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell the controlled substance.

Possible Penalties

Schedule I and II (heroin, opiates/opioids, cocaine, methamphetamines)

  • Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with the intent to make/sell: Punishable by up to 30 years incarceration and/or fines up to $75,000.
  • Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with the intent to make/sell a non-narcotic substance: Punishable by up to 5 years incarceration and/or fines up to $12,500.

Schedule III (anabolic steroids)

  • Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with the intent to make/sell a non-narcotic substance: Punishable by up to 5 years incarceration and/or fines up to $12,500.

Schedule IV (Xanax)

  • Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with the intent to make/sell: Punishable by up to 3 years incarceration and/or fines up to $12,500.

Schedule V (codeine)

  • Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with the intent to make/sell: Punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or fines up to $2,500

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

District of Columbia Drug Cultivation and Distribution Laws: Related Resources

If You're Charged with Drug Crimes in D.C., See an Attorney

If you've violated the cultivation or distribution laws in Washington D.C., then you may be facing time behind bars and costly fines, depending on the circumstances in your case. You can even face enhanced penalties if the distribution occurred near a school. With so much at stake, it's in your best interests to see a skilled attorney to devise a strategy for your defense.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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  • Defense attorneys can help protect your rights
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