When the recreational possession and use of cannabis is legalized, but a regulated retail market is not, people are forced to think of creative ways to obtain and provide weed. In this case, though, the creativity comes from a cute canine named Sudo.
While a regulated recreational market has not been established in Washington D.C., the transfer of up to one-ounce of cannabis, from one of-age adult to another, is permitted. This hand-off is known as “gifting.” As a result, several creative businesses have popped up, operating in the grey area of the law, to meet the distribution needs for District residents.
In 2016, adults living in the nation’s capital could get free weed delivered with the purchase of fresh juice. Now, a pair of entrepreneurs have finally figured out what the people really want: to receive their free gift of cannabis by purchasing a painting made by an adorable Alaskan Klee Kai called Sudo.
District Derp is the Washington D.C. brand that is marketing “exceptional art for elevated minds,” and providing cannabis gifts in the form of dried flower, edibles, and vape cartridges to adults who buy one of Sudo’s paintings. Identification is required to make a purchase if you want the free “token of appreciation,” but the artwork alone is also for sale to those under the age of 21 or anyone living outside of Washington D.C..
Artwork orders can either be picked up or delivered. There is a minimum purchase amount of $40 required for pickup orders, and $80 for delivery. Orders are placed through the brand’s website, and a user account must be set up first for identity verification purposes. Once the account is created, customers have access to the art gallery offerings and corresponding gifts. Assuring that customers are 21 or older, the team requires that the name on an order match the valid identification shown at the time of hand-off.
Rather than a menu, since District Derp is not a licensed dispensary, there is a “gift guide” which details the different kinds of appreciative tokens available at the time the painting is purchased.
Flower offerings on the gift guide include strains like Pink Cookies, Papaya Dream, and Big Mac 11. Tahoe OG, White Widow, and Skywalker OG are available in vape cartridges, and edibles include a variety of chocolates, gummies, and an oat bar ranging in potency from 20mg to 65mg.
The star of the edibles has to be the 100mg Atomic Derps, which are described as “a brownie of epic proportions” that include a “cookie layer topped with Oreos, brownies and chocolate ganache.”
The plants harvested to make the tokens of appreciation come from seeds provided by the brand owners that are cultivated off-site by a licensed-caregiver. The edibles are created by the team in their home with extensive product testing and sampling to ensure that the goods are customer-ready before they are ever given out.
Overall, District Derp’s business model seems to value the important things when it comes to distributing cannabis. The brand’s website says that they focus on product quality and customer service. Most importantly, though, there is a cute dog who paints!
The brand also donates to charity. An appropriate choice, a portion of the revenue from selling Sudo’s paintings is donated to Homewards Trails Animal Rescue.
Due to the restrictions placed on nonessential businesses in Washington D.C., District Derp will remain closed until at least June 8. According to the brand’s website, they do plan to reopen when the stay-at-home orders are lifted.
How did Sudo learn to paint?
Sudo’s teammates say that it all started because she had a natural affinity for carrying sticks. She would often carry the stick of her choice, in her mouth, while on walks. Inspired by this, and a challenge from a friend, they created a special stick-like-prototype designed just for her. Sudo’s special doggy paintbrush is a “T-shaped brush that she can hold comfortably and naturally [to] look straight at the canvas while she paints.”
Why doesn’t Washington D.C. have recreational dispensaries?
Voters in Washington D.C. overwhelmingly approved Initiative 71 in November of 2014, effectively ending the prohibition of marijuana in the nation’s capital. The measure did not, however, include a framework for licensing dispensaries or commercial cultivation centers. Despite efforts from local leaders, like city council members and even the mayor, Congress blocked cannabis dispensaries from being allowed in the District. The Congressional block remains in place until at least September of this year.
Medical marijuana is a different story in the District, however, as there are currently seven medical dispensaries open to serve registered patients. Medical dispensaries were deemed essential businesses and have remained operational during the stay-at-home orders of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conditions which qualify a person to apply for a medical marijuana card in Washington D.C. include:
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Conditions characterized by severe and persistent muscle spasms, such as multiple sclerosis
Certain cancer treatments also qualify a person for medical marijuana. These include:
Nearly nine months after Initiative 71 went into effect in Washington D.C., making it legal for adults to possess and use personal amounts of cannabis, residents are realizing that there is really only one way to reliably obtain the plant. Laws regarding marijuana in D.C. forbid the sale of cannabis, which makes it difficult to legally acquire marijuana without personally growing it. As a result, a new market has opened up for home builders and remodelers.
While the law allows for D.C. residents to grow up to six plants at a time, cold winters make consistent outdoor cultivation impossible. Realizing that growing your own is the wave of the future, one Washington D.C. developer may have just launched the newest trend in high-end home amenities — cannabis cultivation closets.
Developer, Eric Hirshfield, recently stacked a four-level condo in the Park View area of the city with a wet bar, wine fridge and a closet designed to grow cannabis. Hirshfield is confident that this is more than a one time addition,
“I think this is going to be the new wet bar of 2015.”
Eric Hirshfield (NBCWashington)
The closet in the home, which sold for $800,000, features high quality lamps, a drainage system, an exhaust fan and a locked door to secure the area from children. Since Hirshfield unveiled this design, other developers have considered including grow rooms, but none have taken the initiative to carry out the plans.
Hirshfield said that he will continue to construct larger closets in new builds and turn bonus rooms into grow rooms for home owners around D.C.,
“The novelty [of having a grow closet] hasn’t quite worn off. But I would say there is more growing happening than people may realize.”
While some may be turned off by the thought of a cannabis cultivation room, few would think twice about owning a home with a room built for growing organic vegetables or herbs. No matter which way the room is described, it is likely that Hirshfield will earn more business from this design. The next homes Hirshfield is constructing in Mount Pleasant and Petworth will have cultivation rooms built-in.
For the first time in the history of the event, the 2015 Washington D.C. Fair will feature a marijuana growing competition.
With the legalization of cannabis being enacted in D.C. five months ago, this competition is an opportunity for citizens to show off their green thumbs. It will be called the “Best Buds” category, adding it to a list of other contests including homebrew and pickled food competitions.
Each plant will be judged in four categories:
Appearance: How well is the plant manicured and does it have trichomes?
Touch: Does the stem snap? How sticky is the plant?
Odor: What is the smell like and is it sweet, spicy or murky?
Story: Was the light used artificial or natural? Grown in soil or hydroponically? Was the plant grown organically?
The entries will not be judged on how high, nor the type of high that results when consumed because the fair must follow the law — it is illegal to smoke in a public place.
Anna Tauzin, a board member and outreach director for the fair, stated:
“Now that it’s legal for residents of the District to grow their own plants, we wanted a way to highlight this new freedom while also showing off the agricultural talents of the District’s people.”
The judges for the competition have not been selected yet, but are expected to be a mix of cannabis experts from around the area. After the Denver County Fair canceled their Pot Pavillon exhibit, it appears that the D.C. Fair will be one of the few featuring cannabis themed events.
The winner will receive a blue ribbon and other items from local businesses.
Since the start of marijuana legalization in Washington D.C. on February 26, there remains to be only four ways that citizens can get their hands on cannabis. As of today, and for the foreseeable future, recreational dispensaries are not one of them.
The people of the District can legally obtain marijuana through donors of legal age (the law allows up to one ounce to be shared without the exchange of money), by growing their own plants, a process that is not easy and takes a substantial amount of time and money, or they can apply to get their medical card through a doctor.
The main option for most people has become obtaining it through dealers on the marijuana black market. The legalization has led to an influx of people who had never been involved in buying pot off of street dealers before, but now feel more comfortable with the change in law.
“The black market is the obvious choice. It’s awesome.”
This issue of legalization without a regulated, legal way to purchase cannabis has been seen before in 2013 throughout Colorado and the state of Washington. Citizens could legally consume and possess marijuana, but were unable to purchase it without a medical license.
Both states reported a dramatic increase in adult cannabis consumption during that time (or at least an increase in adults willing to admit it), a trend that seems to be continuing in D.C. as they deal with the issue of legalizing possession without retailers from which to purchase it.
Keith Stroup, founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), spoke on the black market problem that Washington D.C. is currently dealing with,
“If you’re going to legalize marijuana, you also have to legalize the supply because you want to get rid of the black market or at least limit the black market. Right now, they’ve done the exact opposite.”
With no forthcoming changes to create a system of purchasing cannabis recreationally, the law is fueling the black market. As one D.C. dealer put it:
“It’s the dealer-protection act of 2015. This was a license for me to print money.”
Until dispensaries for recreational cannabis purchase are created, the black market will continue to be the main source of obtaining marijuana for the people of Washington D.C.
Voters in Washington D.C. ended marijuana prohibition within the district last election day. Retail marijuana sales have not been legalized in the capital, but legislation to pass that is also in the works. If marijuana use is legalized, is it fair for employers to discriminate against users by drug testing job applicants?
Orange reportedly addressed this issue with the statements,
“The citizens of the District voted for Initiative 71, to legalize marijuana, and this bill will protect citizens who legally smoke marijuana but are then subsequently penalized for it through loss of employment opportunities. The bill aims to prevent the loss of a job opportunity for job seekers who have used marijuana prior to receiving a job offer but it does not remove an employer’s right to prohibit the use of drugs at work or at any time during employment.”
Once an employee officially accepts a job offer, he or she is still required to follow workplace policies, and nothing in the bill addresses drug testing hired employees. The bill only protects pre-employment discrimination for marijuana use.