DC's pot laws don't allow users to purchase marijuana in a traditional buyer-seller interaction. Instead, they allow someone to buy another item, good or service — and then receive a free marijuana product that's "gifted" or donated by the vendor, instead of being sold. Some gifting interactions have featured things like stickers, single ticket raffles, shirts, cups, music and even motivational speeches.
According to Joe Tierney of GentlemanToker.com, "most of the time pot is used to promote something else during these exchanges." Marijuana seekers can find these vendors by going to "pop-up" events usually advertised on social media platforms like Instagram by the vendors themselves. The postings are often kept secret, so users must direct message vendors, or hosts to find out the actual location.
These events take place at random venues throughout the city in places like bars, restaurants and even private residences. Once there, a user can find themselves in a farmers market-like atmosphere where anything from cannabis buds, edibles, concentrates and merchandise, can be found. However, "gifters" should definitely beware. Officials have recently been cracking down on gifting markets, and even revoked the license of one nightclub where weed was openly used.
If users do not feel comfortable going to a pop-up event, there is also a burgeoning (but pricey) marijuana delivery market.
Maine and Massachusetts have legalized both medical and recreational cannabis, but political infighting and bureaucratic red tape has delayed the process of opening up recreational dispensaries. Right now, DC is the East Coast's most thriving pot market, with more than 300 local marijuana-affiliated businesses. However, because of marijuana's quasi-legal status in the district, many larger companies are staying away. A 2014 study by District officials estimated that the city's cannabis market could be worth up to $130 million a year, leading to a possible $20 million of revenue for local government. This is just a small fraction of the estimated growth of the entire national industry, which could top $20 billion by 2022 according to some estimates.