May 3, 2024 - News

Pot patios are firing up in D.C. this summer

Marijuana moving illustration

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Pot patios are coming to D.C. this summer thanks to the city's evolving cannabis laws.

Why it matters: This is the first time D.C. residents will be able to legally smoke or consume marijuana in licensed retailers' outdoor social spaces like rooftops and courtyards.

Driving the news: The Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration (ABCA) tells Axios its new Summer Garden program — part of the 2022 D.C. Medical Cannabis bill — is finally getting off the ground.

How it works: Registered D.C. residents (and others) can buy medical cannabis and products to consume at licensed retailers who have an ABCA-approved Summer Garden endorsement.

  • Operating hours are set between 8am and midnight. There's no live entertainment permitted, but retailers can play ambient music.
  • Retailers can't serve alcoholic beverages, but they can serve N/A drinks and food in the Summer Garden.
  • Additionally, retailers can apply for an Education Tasting Endorsement that allows a business to offer cooking and how-to classes, plus tastings.

Zoom in: ABCA representatives tell Axios they've accepted two Summer Garden applications. The National Holistic Healing Center in Dupont Circle has been approved (the endorsement has not yet been issued).

  • Another for New Leaf Smoke Shop on H Street NE is awaiting approval for an endorsement, with a protest hearing scheduled for May 22.

Between the lines: Getting a Summer Garden is a highly regulated process that also includes a 45-day public comment period.

The big picture: The Summer Garden program is going into effect along with a broader swath of marijuana legislation that more clearly regulates cannabis sales — and, for many, makes legal weed more seamless and widely available.

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