A District of Columbia marijuana grower has praised the legalisation of possession of small amounts of marijuana on 26 February, the morning a local ballot measure that was approved by 65% of voters in November took effect.

"I'm very happy that for other people who were more afraid than I was to grow, that they can now do it, in complete, without any fear of any repercussions," Carlos said during an interview at his home, where he is tending to two maturing marijuana plants.

Carlos, a 42-year old construction worker and father of five, has been growing marijuana at home since 2009.

Heated by bright lights, the plants are kept in an insulated tent, and the tent is kept inside a closet in his daughter's bedroom.

The US capital joined Washington state, Alaska and Colorado in making marijuana lawful for recreational use, reflecting a rapidly shifting legal landscape for the drug. It remains illegal under federal law.

The District of Columbia law allows adults to possess up to 2oz of marijuana and to grow six plants at home, three of them mature. Sales are barred but transfers of up to 1oz are legal.

Bongs, pipes and other paraphernalia are legal but public smoking is not. Marijuana is barred in about 20% of the city that is federal land.

The ballot measure, named Initiative 71, took effect at 12.01am, despite a face-off between local officials and the Republican-led US Congress over the new standards.

The DC Cannabis Campaign, which spearheaded Initiative 71, plans to hold a seed exchange next month. The group's leader, Adam Eidinger, whose paraphernalia shop was shut by police two years ago, is on course to re-open it.

Until a marijuana business takes hold in the District, Carlos plans to keep growing marijuana plants.

"The peace that it brings me, the satisfaction of taking a plant from seed to harvest in less than three months. It's amazing. This plant is an amazing plant. It's amazing. There is really nothing else on this earth that grows so fast and gives so much in so little time."

His efforts now legal, Carlos said he may soon take his plants out of the closet. His next harvest will begin in about two weeks.