D.C. residents gathered at an Adams Morgan restaurant to receive free marijuana seeds in the country's largest legal pot giveaway. (Video: Dakota Fine/The Washington Post)

Matt Skarbeck handed out free marijuana seeds from his personal collection at the D.C. Cannabis Campaign’s seed share Thursday evening. Skarbeck, who said he’s been a professional grower since 1992, had a variety of marijuana strains on hand, some of which he said were worth $40 per seed.

“It grows very oddball weed that no one’s ever seen before,” he said of one of the strains.

Skarbeck sat at a table in the back of the second floor of Adams Morgan’s cramped Libertine restaurant, handing out little baggies of seeds to the hundreds of residents who streamed through the establishment. For those interested, he told them about his business, Legal 6 DC Cannabis Consulting, in which he helps people grow marijuana in their homes.

Skarbeck stands to get significant business out of Thursday’s event. The seed share — the largest marijuana giveaway in the nation — was the first opportunity for many District residents to take advantage of the city’s quasi-legal drug market.  Thanks to restrictions from Congress, it’s still illegal to sell marijuana in the city, although growing and smoking in the privacy of one’s home is allowed.

Organizers say that at least 500 people took home free seeds, many having waited for hours in a line that stretched along 18th Street NW. A majority of those people seemed to have little knowledge of what to do with the seeds when they got home.

“I’ve watched YouTube videos,” said Henry Yandrasits, a linguistics graduate student at Gallaudet University. “I’m basically an expert.”

Wendell Myers says he’d rather just buy marijuana, but since that’s prohibited, he’ll try to grow some in his Petworth home. Myers, 53, said he experimented with growing when he was younger, but the process didn’t yield anything that got him high.

“I might as well have been growing dandelions,” he said.

This time, he’s a bit more confident. “I can’t growing anything,” he said. “But it’s a weed. I know I’ve already been able to grow those in my back yard.”

Shelly Gardner of Langdon Park said she’s an experienced gardener, so she thought she’d give marijuana a try.

“I’ve grown everything else, so why not this?,” she said. “It’s just another thing to try.”

[Seeding the District’s era of legal pot]

Brett Nichols, on the other hand, used to live in Colorado, and already knows he’s terrible at growing marijuana. So he brought some seeds he had and gave them away.

“I came with a bunch of seeds and left with none, so this was a success,” he said. “I’ve already tried growing, and I’m [terrible] at it, so I don’t need any seeds.”

One man, who didn’t want to give his name, said the event wasn’t about the seeds, but about waiting in line for more than two hours — some of the time in the pouring rain — with people who voted to give marijuana some legal status in the city.

As for growing the plant?

“I have no idea how to do it.”