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Legal Status of Medical & Recreational Marijuana by State.
A state by state overview of the legal status of recreational & medicinal cannabis. The year is when it when it was legalized. Cannabis is often referred to as marijuana in law.
What is the Legal Status of Marijuana in the U.S?
In the United States Under federal law, the possession and use of cannabis is illegal for any purpose as per the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970. It is classified as schedule I substance which lists it as having a high potential for abuse with no accepted medical benefit. In spite of this, many states have unilaterally legalized cannabis over the years for both medical and recreational purposes.
It is also of note that FDA (the Food and Drug Administration) has approved several cannabis-derived compounds for prescription use. The Cannabinoid drugs approved are Marinol (THC), Cesamet (nabilone), Syndros (THC), and Epidiolex (CBD). Non-prescription delta-8-THC and CBD that is derived from industrial hemp is also legal at federal level though the legality and enforcement vary from state to state.
We will now have a closer look at each state and its legal status.
What is the Legal Status of Marijuana By State?
Cannabis in Alabama
In this state, medical cannabis is legal but recreational is not. First-time offenses may be punished as a misdemeanor after which further possession, or “intent to sell”, could attract felony charges.
The medical use of cannabis was legalized in this state in May 2021 by way of a bill signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey. It is not clear whether transporting cannabis is considered to be illegal though cultivation can be carried out by licensed cultivators and not individual patients.
Cannabis in Alaska
Cannabis is legal for both medical and recreational use in the state of Alaska. Transportation is allowed for amounts of Up to 1 oz (28 g) while cultivation in a household with two adults who are 21 and above while no limit for growing has been put on commercial license.
Cannabis in Alaska was legalized by measure 2 in Alaska and it became one of the first states to have both medical and recreational cannabis legally.
Cannabis in Arizona
In Arizona, the use of cannabis is legal for both medical and recreational use. Just like in Alaska, transportation is allowed for Upto 1 oz (28 g) and the growing is capped at six plants for a house with a maximum of twelve in a household with two or more adults 21 years and older.
The medical use of cannabis in this state was legalized in 2010 via Proposition 203 while its recreational use was legalized on 3rd of November 2020 through Proposition 207.
Cannabis in Arkansas
In the state of Arkansas, cannabis is legal for only medical use. Adult use of cannabis is still outlawed. Both transportation and growing are only allowed for medical use.
Here, possession under 3 oz (85 g) of cannabis is considered a misdemeanor though both Fayetteville and Eureka Springs consider this offense as ranking very low in their enforcement priority list. Medical marijuana in Arkansas was legalized on November 8, 2016 by a 53% approval vote on Issue 6
Cannabis in California
California was the first state to make medical cannabis legal in November of 1996 when 56% of voters approved Proposition 215. In November of 2016 57% of voters passed Proposition 64 for the legalization of sale and distribution of cannabis effective on January 1, 2018.
Therefore in this state both medical and recreational cannabis is legal. Transportation is allowed for Up to 1 oz (28 g) and one is allowed six plants for medical use with more if one has a commercial license.
Bill 95 in senate brought down the penalty for possessing 28 g, which is about 1 oz or less to a citable misdemeanor.
Cannabis in Colorado
In the state of Colorado, cannabis is legal for both medical and recreational use with transport being capped at Up to 2 oz (57 g). Here, you can grow up to six plants legally unless you have a commercial license.
Colorado became the second state to legalize cannabis when voters approved Colorado Amendment 64. This amendment legalized both the sale and the possession of cannabis for non-medical purposes. It was at the forefront of legal retail sales. Possession for adults was increased from 1 oz to 2 oz by Governor Jared Polis on May 20,2021 when he signed HB 21–1090.
Cannabis in Connecticut
In this state, cannabis is legal for both medical and recreational use. Here, carrying up to 1.5 oz (43 g) or possessing up to 5 oz (140 g) in the trunk of a vehicle or locked inside a home is legal.
Legally starting in October 1, 2021 you can have upto six plants with three plants being mature and three plants immature for medical use or adult use. Planting for adult use will be legal from July 1, 2023. The SB 1201 bill was signed by Governor Ned Lamont on June 22,2021. However civil fines can be imposed on those who are 18-20 with a fine of up to $150 though arrest of minors of below 18 for simple possession is prohibited.
Cannabis in Delaware
In this state, recreational cannabis is decriminalized and considered to be a civil infraction. Medical use is however legal with both transportation and growing being allowed for this purpose.
Use of medical marijuana was suspended by Governor Jack Markell after the Justice Department issued a letter threatening federal prosecution. He however eventually signed House Bill 400 in August of 201 for the expansion of medical programs targeted at people with terminal illness.
Cannabis in Florida
In the state of Florida, recreational use of cannabis is still illegal. However, medical use is cleared for use, planting and transportation. The legalization of medical cannabis actualized on 8th of November 2016 when 71%. Of voters passed Amendment 2.
Cannabis in Georgia
The status of recreational cannabis in the cities of Clarkson, Atlanta, Statesboro, Forest Park, South Fulton, Savannah and the unincorporated Macon-Bibb and Fulton counties is Illegal, though it is decriminalized.
You can also transport medical cannabis as CBD oil (with below 5% THC) was legalized on April 16, 2015. However, growing any form of cannabis is illegal. In this state you face a fine of up to $1000 or a 12 month jail sentence for misdemeanor possession of more than 1 oz (28 g).. If you intend to distribute, you can be slapped with imprisonment of between 1 and 10 years though the punishments vary at county and city level.
Cannabis in Hawaii
In this state, medical use for cannabis is legal. Though recreational use is decriminalized, it is against program use to transport it and growing is only allowed for medical use.
Cannabis in Idaho
Idaho is one of the states that are still a long way away from embracing cannabis in all its forms. Though CBD oil (less than 0.1% THC) is legal, it is illegal to grow any cannabis. It is also a misdemeanor to possess 85 g (3.0 oz) or less of marijuana which could attract a fine of $1,000 or a 1-year prison sentence. Possessing upwards of 3 oz (85 g) or less than 1 lb (0.45 kg) is a felony offense punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, or a fine of up to $10,000, or even both.
It was stipulated by the Attorney General in 2015 that CBD has to contain zero THC and also be derived from pre-approved parts of the plant. In 2021, the cap was increased to 0.1% THC by Governor Brad Little.
Cannabis in Illinois
Though both medical use and recreational use of cannabis are legal in Illinois, you are only allowed to plant up to 5 trees for medical use or acquire a license to plant for adult use. You can also transport up to 30 g (1.1 oz) of cannabis legally.
Illinois was the first state to legalize the sale of adult marijuana through a state legislature act though its use had already been legalized starting January 1, 2021.
Cannabis in Indiana
Recreational-use marijuana in this state is a misdemeanor that attracts up to 6 months jail time or $1000 fine. However CBD oil that contains below than 0.3% THC is legal. It is not clear whether transportation is legal but growing cannabis in this state is a felony.
Cannabis in Iowa
In this state, recreational use of cannabis is illegal and medical use is permitted with a maximum THC content of 4.5 grams for each patient within a 90 day period. It is not clearly stated whether transportation is allowed but it’s a felony to grow the plant.
Cannabis in Kansas
In Kansas, it is a misdemeanor to consume cannabis for recreation but CBD oil (with 0% THC) is legal for any use. It is not clear whether transportation is banned but growing marijuana is considered to be illegal. In 2018, CBD oil, the definition of CBD oil, was exempted from marijuana.
Cannabis in Kentucky
Taking less than 8 oz (230 g) of marijuana and planting less than 5 trees in the state of Kentucky is considered to be a misdemeanor. CBD oil however is legal but it is not clear whether transporting cannabis is permitted. The legalization of CBD happened in 2014.
Cannabis in Louisiana
While medical cannabis is legal in this state, decriminalization for recreation is only up to 14 grams (0.49 ounces). You can transport cannabis for medical use but growing it is strictly illegal.
In 2020, House Bill 819 which expanded cannabis access to “any condition” that a doctor “considers debilitating to an individual patient and is qualified through his medical education and training to treat” came into law by a signature from Governor John Bel Edwards. The same Governor signed into law the decriminalization in 2021.
Cannabis in Maine
Both recreational and medical use of cannabis are legal in the state of Maine. One is allowed to carry not more than 2.5 oz (71 g) and you can have an unlimited number of seedlings and plant three mature plants and also have twelve immature plants. Commercially licensed growers can also plant an unlimited number of cannabis plants.
Cannabis in Maryland
Recreational marijuana is decriminalized in this state for quantities of up to 10g though medical use is legal. One is allowed to carry medical cannabis though growing it is strictly illegal. The fine for possession of 10g of recreational cannabis or less is punishable by a $100 fine in the first offense while a second offense attracts $250 and a third one $500 plus possible drug treatment.
Cannabis in Massachusetts
Both recreational and medical cannabis are legal in this state and one is allowed to have up to 10 oz which is 280 g in a home and 1oz outside the home. Growing is allowed for up to six plants per person with a total of twelve plants for a household of two or more adults or with a commercial license.
Cannabis in Michigan
In Michigan it is legal to consume cannabis for both recreational and medical purposes. You can carry a maximum 2.5 oz (71 g) outside and store 10 oz (280 g) inside your home. Growing is allowed at 12 plants for households unless one has a commercial license.
Medical cannabis was legalized in 2008 while recreational cannabis got the green card in 2018.
Cannabis in Minnesota
Medical use of cannabis was legalized in the state of Minnesota in 2014. The decriminalization of recreational cannabis that took effect in 1976 is still in place. Growing and transportation of cannabis is allowed for medical use only.
Cannabis in Mississippi
In Mississippi recreational marijuana is decriminalized for first offenders for 30 g (1.1oz) and below. CBD was legalized in 2014 and though the Supreme Court of Mississippi overturned an earlier ruling, Medical use was finally legalized again in 2022. Only licensed cultivators can grow cannabis in this state and transportation is only allowed for medical cannabis.
Cannabis in Missouri
Medical cannabis is legal in this state though its recreational use is still stuck at decriminalized status since 2014. In 2018, voters approved Amendment 2 giving permission distributing and regulating medical cannabis. It is not stated clearly whether transportation is allowed but one can grow cannabis for medical use.
Cannabis in Montana
This is one of the most liberated states as far as cannabis goes. Not only are both recreational and medical cannabis legal, one can also legally possess a maximum of 1 oz (28 g) of cannabis or 8g of concentrates. The legalization of cannabis took place on November 3, 2020 by Initiative 190.
Cannabis in Nebraska
As liberal as Montana is, Nebraska is the opposite. Here, though decriminalization of recreational cannabis applies to a first offense, one still gets charged up to $300 also potentially requiring drug education. A second offense attracts a $500 fine with up to 5 days in jail while a third offense might have you imprisoned for up to a week or fined a maximum of $500.
Cannabis in Nevada
In Nevada, cannabis is legal for both recreational and medical use. Possession and transportation is allowed and adults 21 years and above can grow up to six cannabis plants per household if 2 miles (40 km) from the store or with a commercial license. Medical marijuana was legalized by a 65% vote on November 7, 2000 while recreational marijuana was passed by a 54% vote on Question 2 on November 8, 2016.
Cannabis in New Hampshire
Medical marijuana was legalized in this state in 2013 by the signing of HB573 by Governor Hassan. The decriminalization of up to 0.75 oz (21 g) was signed into bill by Governor Chris Sununu on July 18, 2017. Both possession and growing are only allowed for medical use.
Cannabis in New Jersey
Marijuana is legal for both recreational and medical purposes in this state. An individual can possess up to 6 oz (170 g) with licensed delivery services having clearance. Growing here however is restricted to licensed cultivators only.
Cannabis in New Mexico
In the state of New Mexico, cannabis is legal for both adult and medical use. Medical use was signed into law by Governor Bill Richardson in 2007 while recreational use came into law in 2021 by a signature from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Cannabis in New York
Presently, the use of cannabis for both recreational and medical purposes is legal in the state of New York. It was passed into law by Governor Cuomo on March 31, 2021. Possession is allowed for Up to 3 oz (85 g) for recreational purposes and 24 grams in concentrated forms such as oils. Growing is capped at three immature and three mature plants per person with a maximum of twelve trees per household.
Cannabis in North Carolina
The decriminalization of cannabis that took effect in 1977 is still in place here for 42 g (1.5 oz) or less. CBD oil was legalized in 2015 while the transportation and growing of cannabis remains illegal.
Cannabis in North Dakota
In this state, cannabis was decriminalized for 0.49 oz or less in May 2019. Medical Marijuana on the other hand was legalized by a 64% vote of Measure 5 on November 8, 2016. Both transportation and growing are allowed for medical use only.
Cannabis in Ohio
In Ohio, cannabis for recreation is classified as decriminalized or a civil infraction. Medical use of cannabis however was signed into legislation by Governor John Kasich on June 8, 2016. It is not clear whether transportation is allowed but growing is permitted for medical use only.
Cannabis in Oklahoma
Recreational use of marijuana is illegal in the state of Oklahoma but legal for medical use as per the approved vote of State Question 788 on June 26, 2018. You can grow cannabis with a medicinal license though it is not clear whether and how much you can have in your possession.
Cannabis in Oregon
Cannabis is legal for both recreational and medical use in the state of Oregon. As a matter of fact, the state of Oregon was the first to decriminalize cannabis in 1973. There have been a number of reforms since then which have seen the limit for individual possession going up to 2 oz (57 g) from 1 oz. Each household with adults of above 21 years is permitted to grow four plants with more if one has a commercial license. This is also one of the first states to impose a sales tax which was signed by Governor Brown at 25%.
Cannabis in Pennsylvania
Recreational use of marijuana is Illegal in the state of Pennsylvania as a whole but it is decriminalized in Pittsburg and Philadelphia. Medical use is however legal as per the law signed in by Governor Wolf on April 17, 2016. Possession and transportation is only allowed for medical cannabis while growing is illegal in all its forms. Possessing 30 g (1.1 oz) or less can earn you a jail term of not more than 30 or fine of $500 while anything more than that could get you fined $5000 or given a jail sentence not exceeding one year.
Cannabis in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, recreational marijuana is considered to be a civil violation as it was decriminalized but not yet legalized. Cannabis for medical use is legal with possession and growing being permitted for this reason only. 1 oz of recreational cannabis will fetch you a $150 fine and if you have 3 violations within an 18 month window it will be considered a misdemeanor with larger prison terms or fines, or both.
Cannabis in South Carolina
Possessing recreational use of cannabis in South Carolina is considered to be a misdemeanor. The only legalized form of marijuana is Cannabis oil (that contains below 0.9% THC). It is also illegal to grow cannabis in this state. CBD oil was legalized by Governor Nikki Haley in 2014 by the signing of senate bill 1035 relating to the “Julian's Law”, allowing for the treatment of children suffering from severe epilepsy with CBD oil at the recommendation of a physician.
Cannabis in South Dakota
The use of recreational marijuana is also considered a misdemeanor in the State of South Dakota. However, cannabis for medical use is legal, with possession and cultivation being allowed for this reason. Personal use of recreational marijuana 2 oz or below qualifies as a Class 1 misdemeanor which is punishable up to 1 year imprisonment or up to a $2,000 fine.
Cannabis in Tennessee
Here also, recreational cannabis is considered to be a misdemeanor if possession is less than .5 oz (14 g) or it is a first or a second offense. Any amount higher than that or repeated offenses are considered to be a felony. CBD oil of less than 0.9% THC is however legal as is its transportation. Growing cannabis plants is prohibited with less than 9 being a misdemeanor and 10 and above a felony.
Cannabis in Texas
Though recreational cannabis is Illegal in Texas, it tends to be de facto legal because of the refusal by Austin authorities to arrest for quantities less than 4 ounces. There is also the “cite and release” order that is in effect in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Travis County residents.
CBD oil (with less than 1% THC and greater than 10% CBD is legal. It is not stated clearly whether possession is outlawed though the growing of it is clearly illegal. In May of 2019, the law was expanded to include ALS, MS, and Parkinson’s disease, autism, terminal cancer and spasticity as pre qualifying conditions.
Cannabis in Utah
Recreational marijuana is a misdemeanor in Utah punishable by a month prison sentence or not more than $1,000 fine for possession of a maximum of 1 oz (or 28 g). Any amount 10 oz and above will attract a $10,000 fine while selling it is considered a felony punishable by 5 years imprisonment or $5,000 fine. Medical cannabis is however legal though growing cannabis is still illegal.
Cannabis in Vermont
Vermont is another haven for cannabis. It is legal in all its forms (recreational and medical use) with legal possession of up to 1 oz which is 28g. One can grow up to six plants (four immature and two mature).
Cannabis in Virginia
Effective July 1, 2021, Marijuana was legalized for personal use in the state of Virginia. It is also legal for medical use allowing for commercial sales and one can possess up to 28 g (1 oz) and plant a maximum of four plants.
Cannabis in Washington
Washington was the first state to make recreational cannabis legal, which was just 5 days before Colorado. Cannabis was legalized by the Washington Initiative 502 in 2012. The law allows adults 21 years and over to carry 1 oz (or 28 g), and requires distributors, sellers and growers to get licensed. Home growing of cannabis is prohibited unless for medical use.
Cannabis in West Virginia
Though medical use of cannabis is legal in this state, recreational use is considered to be a misdemeanor. It is illegal to grow cannabis in this state though guidelines for possession are not clearly outlined.
Cannabis in Wisconsin
CBD oil is legal in this state though recreational cannabis is a misdemeanor on the first offense and a felony on any subsequent offenses apart from in the city of Milwaukee where it is decriminalized. Qualified patients are allowed to grow twelve plants and possess up to 3 oz (or 85 g) of flowers or leaves. On first offense, a misdemeanor fine not exceeding $1,000 or a maximum sentence of 6 months can be imposed. For second offenses, a Class I felony fine not exceeding $10,000 or prison sentence not more than 3.5 years can be imposed.
The exception however is Madison who in 2020 legalized possessing up to 1 oz (or 28 g) of adult use cannabis.
Cannabis in Wyoming
Recreational cannabis is a misdemeanor in this state though CBD oil is legal. Growing cannabis is strictly prohibited while being under the influence is a misdemeanor charge that could earn you an imprisonment of up to 90 days or fine of up to a $100. Possessing recreational cannabis on the other hand can earn you up to a 1 yr jail sentence and $1000 in fines.
Cannabis Legality in the Federal districts
Cannabis in the District of Columbia
Both recreational and medical cannabis are legal in this district. Growing is allowed for up to six plants provided that only three are mature at a time. Carrying up to 2 oz (or 57g) is legal while commercial sales are only allowed for medical use.
Cannabis Legality in inhabited territories
Cannabis in American Samoa
All forms of cannabis are illegal in this territory with a minimum 5 year sentence for any drug possession, including Marijuana.
Cannabis in Guam
This territory is the exact opposite of American Samoa. All forms of cannabis are legal here with a bill signed into law by its Governor on April 4, 2019.
Cannabis in Northern Mariana Islands
This territory also legalized all forms of marijuana, including its growing by a bill signed by Governor Ralph Torres on September 21, 2018.
Cannabis in Puerto Rico
Medical cannabis is legal in this territory though recreational cannabis is not. Growing is allowed for medical use as is transportation.
Cannabis in the U.S. Virgin Islands
The use of cannabis for recreational purposes is decriminalized in this territory as of December 2014. Cannabis for medical use is however legal, allowing for the growing of plants for this reason only.
Cannabis Legality in Tribal Nations
The tribal nations that have legalized cannabis are Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe (South Dakota), Suquamish Tribe (Washington state) , Squaxin Island Tribe (Washington state), Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe (South Dakota) and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe.