With the ever-changing landscape of the cannabis industry, one of the hardest things to keep track of is where exactly is weed legal? From state to state or even around the world, it can be daunting to keep up with what’s happening! So let’s start by breaking down all the different ways weed can be considered ‘legal’ in this political warzone.
What is decriminalization anyway? Well, it basically signals the beginning of the end of prohibition in that given state or country. While you won’t get thrown in prison or even arrested for carrying a small amount of marijuana, it doesn’t quite mean you’ll be walking into a local dispensary to load up on your meds. Rather, these states have laws in place that lower the penalty for possessing non medicinal marijuana – Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York (unless it’s open to public view), North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. But be careful! A few of these regions still count pot possession as a misdemeanor, so while you may not spend a night in jail, your record may not walk away so clean. You can find more about decriminalization laws in your state now!
A method all Californians are quite privy to, medical marijuana is a huge stepping stone to total recreational legalization. Countries such as Guam and Puerto Rico have gone this route in recent years, as well as US states Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
But the term ‘medical marijuana’ is still pretty loose and sits in a kind of gray area, legally. It’s up to each state to determine what ailments grant the prescription of medicinal weed. States like Missouri, Oklahoma, Indiana, Mississippi, Utah, Wyoming, Virginia, and Tennessee all have incredibly restricted medical marijuana laws that focus primarily on only providing CBD products to patients (the non psychoactive component in weed) – while states such as California (which recently went recreational as well) have a much looser idea of what constitutes the prescription of medical marijuana, becoming pretty well known for spots like Venice Beach where weed runs rampid. You can learn more about medical marijuana laws in your state now!
The ultimate triumph for the cannabis industry is total recreational legalization. Only a handful of states are blazing the trail ahead, but their constant evolution and development of the marijuana industry is what paves the way for future states to follow. Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Plus! There have been three Native American Tribes to legalize pot on their sacred lands – the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, the Suquamish Tribe, and the Squaxin Island Tribe.
While some portions of our country move forward, spots like D.C. are in an ongoing battle between the city and Congress to make their legalized recreational weed readily available to the city’s patrons. The constant back and forth has all but halted the cannabis industry entirely within the city limits. While laws and statutes differ and vary from state to state it’s important to continue to forge ahead; stay informed and remember to vote for laws, bills, and lawmakers that keep the cannabis industry moving forward!
Where is weed legal in the U.S?
Weed is fully illegal in Alabama. A recent poll showed 75% of Alabama citizens support medical marijuana, but unfortunately it is still illegal.
Weed is legal in Alaska. The law in Alaska allows people over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce (28g) of marijuana. Adults are allowed to lawfully possess up to six cannabis plants as long as three or less are flowering.
In Arizona, people 21 and older can possess up to an ounce of cannabis flower or 5 grams of cannabis concentrate. Those with a medical card can possess up to 2.5 ounces every two weeks.
Cannabis is outlawed in Arkansas. The possession of under four ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor under state law, carrying a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one years’ imprisonment. The state will also suspend your drivers license for six months due to any cannabis offense.
California legalized recreational and medical cannabis. California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis back in 1996. Adults 21 and older can cultivate up to 6 plants for recreational purposes, under Proposition 64.
Weed is fully legal in Colorado. If you are an adult 21 years of age or older, you can now legally possess 1 ounce of marijuana in the state. A government issued ID such as a passport or DL is required to prove your age.
Medical weed is legal in Connecticut, but recreational is not. The medical cannabis patient must always carry their medical ID on them at all times to avoid arrests and prosecution. Under Connecticut law, patients can possess the amount that is ‘reasonably necessary’ for a one month’s supply.
Weed is fully illegal in Delaware and is considered a Schedule 1 drug. The distribution, cultivation, or sale of less than 1500 grams of cannabis is a felony and is punishable by 8 years in prison. Possession of up 1 oz is a civil penalty and a maximum fine of $100.
District Of Columbia
Weed is totally legal in Washington D.C. Adults 21 years of age or older may possess up to two ounces of marijuana and cultivate no more than six plants (with three or fewer mature at any one time) in their primary residence without penalty.
Weed is legal for medical use in the state of Florida. To quality, residents of Florida need to schedule an appointment with a doctor, receive a qualifying diagnosis, register with the state and fill out the application. The fee for the application in $75.
All cannabis is illegal in the state of Georgia. Personal use of 1 oz or less of cannabis is punishable by a fine of $1000 and up to a year in prison.
Medical weed is legal for people with qualifying conditions in Hawaii. Patients must possess a state-issued medical marijuana card. Those with medical marijuana cards from other states can also purchase cannabis in Hawaii. Recreational cannabis use is illegal in Hawaii.
Cannabis is illegal in Idaho. Those caught with under three ounces of marijuana will face a misdemeanor charge, up to a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Possessing more than three ounces is a felony and is punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
As of January 1, 2020, cannabis is legal in Illinois. Anyone 21 years old or older can buy weed at a licensed dispensary in Illinois. It is illegal to buy it from an individual. Medical marijuana patients can grow up to 5 plants in their own home.
Marijuana use is illegal in Indiana. The state lists it as a Schedule 1 drug, and includes hash and hash oil. CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are not included.
Marijuana use is currently illegal in Iowa, but officials in the state have taken measures to make marijuana possession law enforcement’s lowest priority. The majority of Iowa residents want to make marijuana legal.
In Kansas, marijuana use of any kind is illegal. It is classified as a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical value. Possession of marijuana in the state are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, or both.
Marijuana is illegal in Kentucky, but there are no minimum mandatory sentences for marijuana possession or sale. Possession of less than eight ounces of recreational marijuana is charged as a Class B misdemeanor punishable by 45 days in jail with a $250 fine.
Weed is medically legal in the state of Louisiana. A recent legislation allows physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients with qualifying conditions listed under the current law.
Weed is fully legal in Maine. In 2016, Maine voters passed the legislation initiative along with California, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Maine was the last state to launch adult use sales, and just recently began cannabis sales in recreational shops in October 2020.
Medical cannabis is legal in Maryland, while recreational cannabis use is illegal. In late January 2019, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that her office would no longer prosecute marijuana possession, regardless of the amount or criminal history.
Cannabis use has been legal in the state of Massachusetts since 2016, when voters supported a ballot initiative that allowed adults 21 and older to buy and possess cannabis.
Recreational and medical cannabis use is legal in Michigan. In November of 2019, Michigan introduced a bill that would expand access to expungement of low-level marijuana convictions on their records.
Weed is slowly becoming legalized in Minnesota. On November 3, 2020, voters in South Dakota approved a ballot measure legalizing, regulating, and taxing cannabis for adults 21 and older. However, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R) and his allies are standing in the way of progress. Weed is decriminalized in the state, and is legalized for medical use, but is not recreationally legal yet.
This past election day 2020, Mississippi voters approved Amendment 65, which will establish a medical marijuana program for patients with qualifying conditions. Mississippi is now the 36th state to pass a compassionate and comprehensive medical marijuana program.
Medical marijuana is legal in the state of Missouri. A patient may qualify for medical marijuana if they have been diagnosed with one of the following conditions including: cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, intractable migraines unresponsive treatment.
Cannabis is fully legal in Montana. During the recent 2020 election, Montana has passed two complementary ballot initiatives to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.
In Nebraska, marijuana is completely illegal. Although many Nebraska citizens wanted an initiative in the recent election to overturn current cannabis laws, it did not appear.
Weed is fully legal in the state of Nevada. In 2016, 55% of voters in Nevada voted on a bill that legalized, taxed, and regulated cannabis for adults 21 and older.
Medical marijuana is legal in New Hampshire, but recreational cannabis use is illegal. Any person age 18 or older who possesses less than three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana is guilty of a violation and may be fined $100.
Just recently in the November 2020 election, New Jersey fully legalized marijuana. Cannabis use is now legal in the state and citizens will no longer be punished for cannabis use without a medical recommendation.
New Mexico has legalized weed for medical marijuana patients with qualifying conditions. Recreational cannabis use is decriminalized, but it is still illegal to purchase cannabis outside of a medical marijuana dispensary.
Cannabis has been decriminalized in New York since 2019, but recreational cannabis remains illegal in the state. Medical marijuana is legal for patients who qualify.
Cannabis is fully illegal in North Carolina. The state does not allow recreational cannabis use or medical cannabis use.
North Dakota has legalized cannabis use for medical cannabis patients with qualifying conditions. Currently, recreational cannabis use is still illegal.
Ohio has legalized weed for medical patients. Recreation cannabis use is still illegal. The law in Ohio requires 500 feet between any marijuana business and a school, church, public library or public playground.
In 2018, Oklahoma passed a law legalizing medical marijuana. Adult marijuana use is still illegal. Residents in Oklahoma were expecting to vote on adult-use cannabis laws in 2020, but due to Coronavirus social distancing measures, petitions and signatures were withdrawn.
Oregon has legalized cannabis use for medical patients and recreational use. Adults 21 and older can posses and use cannabis that has been purchased from a licensed dispensary.
Medical cannabis is legal in Pennsylvania, but recreational cannabis is still illegal. Patients must possess a medical marijuana license and buy from a licensed medical dispensary. Possession of small amounts of marijuana is decriminalized in certain cities, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, York, State College, Erie, Lancaster, Bethlehem, and Steelton.
Rhode Island was the 11th state to legalize medical cannabis use. Possession of small amounts of cannabis is decriminalized in the state, but recreational cannabis use is still illegal.
Cannabis use is fully illegal in South Carolina. The state does not allow medical cannabis use of any kind. The state does allow CBD use for medical purposes only.
South Carolina has just legalized both medical cannabis use and recreational cannabis use during the same year. This makes it the first state in the U.S. to do so. Beginning on July 21, 2021 the new laws will take effect. Adults 21 and older will be able to possess 1 ounce of cannabis with no more than 8 grams being cannabis concentrate.
All forms of cannabis use is currently illegal in Tennessee. The state does allow products containing 0.9% of THC or less are legal for the treatment of intractable seizures.
Recreational cannabis use is illegal in the state of Texas. The state does allow for some strict medical cannabis laws. People with intractable epilepsy and registered caregivers acting on their behalf could now purchase cannabis with low THC and high CBD for medical use. However, it cannot be in the form of a flower. Possession of flower cannabis or cannabis with more than 0.5% THC.
Medical cannabis use is legal in Utah. Recreational cannabis use is highly illegal and even possessing just small amounts can result in serious criminal charges. During the coronavirus pandemic, Utah has waived some medical marijuana ID card requirements to make it easier for patients to purchase medical cannabis.
Adult use cannabis and medical cannabis use are both legal in the state of Vermont, however there are no recreational cannabis shops in business yet. Vermont legalized medical cannabis use in 2004 and recreational sales just recently in 2020.
Medical marijuana is legal to patients with qualifying conditions. Adult use recreational cannabis remains illegal in Virginia. In July 2020, the state decriminalized possession of up to an oz of cannabis, with the maximum penalty being a $25 fine and no arrest imposed.
Washington state is known for having relaxed cannabis laws. Medical cannabis and recreational cannabis are both legal in the state. Medical cannabis became legal in 1998, while recreational cannabis passed in the 2012 election.
Medical marijuana is legal in West Virginia, but it is a lengthy process to obtain a valid medical license. The patient must obtain a doctors certificate, register with the Bureau of Health, and get a medical marijuana ID card in order to purchase medical weed. Recreational cannabis is illegal.
In Wisconsin, CBD is legal for medical use only. Other than that, cannabis in any form is illegal. Although the majority of the population in Wisconsin is in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, the state has yet to pass any laws to do so.
Only hemp derived cannabis with less than 0.3% THC is legal for medical use in Wyoming. The state has not legalized medical cannabis use or recreational use of cannabis.