If you’re living in an area of the United States of America where marijuana use is still forbidden by law, it’s easy to presume that it won’t be legal in the very near future, too.
Those living in states where it’s illegal to smoke marijuana won’t yet know the pleasure of buying weed a local person, or how lovely it can be to freely walk into a marijuana dispensary.
We put together a list of US states where weed is legal, but also discuss the legality of it all.
Huge Gap in Legality Between State and Federal Law
Before we dive into the medicinal and recreational marijuana list, let’s clear up what is meant by “legal” when it comes to cannabis. It seems that this term is differently interpreted by state and federal laws.
There’s a large gap for marijuana legalization between individual US states and the federal level. We are currently in a quite confusing situation where Federal authorities are raiding legal marijuana dispensaries throughout the United States. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confiscate their profits and products despite the fact they do business legally and pay taxes promptly.
This confusion affects all the people dealing with marijuana legally, including growers, distributors, and producers. It’s completely baffling to those people in the industry who perform their work professionally and seriously but are still treated by the US Federal government as criminals.
Even worse, those owning a professionally run marijuana business have difficulties opening a bank account for their business. Many of them are not capable of accepting credit card payments from their buyers.
Yep, the current situation is totally messed up right now. Nevertheless, you need to determine if it’s legal to grow, sell, and smoke marijuana in your state, as well as to differentiate medical from recreational marijuana.
Do You Grow, Sell, or Smoke Marijuana?
As a marijuana enthusiast, you may wanna know if it is possible to grow, sell, and smoke weed legally in your state without breaking the law. Keep in mind that marijuana, both medicinal and recreational, is totally banned at the federal level. So, note that we are discussing the legality of marijuana use at the state level.
Therefore, all the US states can be divided into 3 categories:
- Illegal – States where it’s completely illegal to sell, consume, and grow marijuana in any way. These states include Utah, Idaho, Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Virginia, West Virginia, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania.
- Semi-Legal – States where the sale, consumption, and cultivation of marijuana is only allowed for medical purposes. To consume and purchase marijuana legally in these states, you need local ID and a medical marijuana recommendation. Semi-legal US states are Arkansas, Arizona, Alabama, Iowa, Illinois, Connecticut, Texas, Delaware, Louisiana, Florida, Mexico, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio, New North Dakota, Minnesota, Maryland, Montana, Michigan, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Hawaii, and Rhode Island.
- Completely Legal – States where you can legally sell, consume, and cultivate marijuana for either medical or recreational use. So far, there are a total of 8 states as well as one federal district where this is possible, including Washington, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and the and federal District of Columbia.
Medicinal and Recreational Marijuana States
Speaking of recreational and medical marijuana, it’s good to know that many US states (actually state laws) allow marijuana for medical purposes only, while just a few states also permit recreational marijuana.
There are a total of 29 states (plus Washington, D.C.) where medical marijuana is legalized. Below, you can see what these states are, when they have legalized medical marijuana, and possession limits in each of these states.
Medical Marijuana Limits by State
|Alaska||1 ounce usable; 6 plants – 3 mature + 3 immature|
|Arizona||2.5 oz of usable cannabis; 12 plants|
|Arkansas||3 ounces usable per 14 days|
|California||8 ounces usable; 12 immature or 6 mature plants|
|Colorado||2 ounces usable; 6 plants – 3 mature and 3 immature|
|Connecticut||2.5 ounces usable|
|Delaware||6 ounces usable|
|Florida||Amount not determined yet|
|Hawaii||4 ounces usable; 7 plants|
|Illinois||2.5 ounces usable per 14 days|
|Maine||2.5 ounces usable; 6 plants|
|Maryland||Amount to be determined; 30-day supply|
|Massachusetts||10 ounces for medical use; 60-day supply|
|Michigan||2.5 ounces usable; 12 plants|
|Minnesota||Non-smokable marijuana; 30-day supply|
|Montana||1 oz usable; 16 plants – 4 mature plants, 12 seedlings|
|Nevada||2.5 ounces usable; 12 plants|
|New Hampshire||2 oz of usable marijuana per 10 days|
|New Jersey||2 oz usable|
|New Mexico||6 ounces usable; 16 plants – 4 mature & 12 immature|
|New York||Non-smokable marijuana; 30-day supply|
|North Dakota||3 ounces per 14 days|
|Ohio||Amount to be determined; 90-day supply|
|Oregon||24 ounces usable; 24 plants-6 mature & 18 immature|
|Rhode Island||2.5 ounces usable; 12 plants|
|Vermont||2 ounces usable; 9 plants – 2 mature & 7 immature|
|Washington||8 ounces usable; 6 plants|
|West Virginia||Amount to be determined; 30-day supply|
|Washington, DC||2 ounces dried|
Please note that this list doesn’t include states that restrict the use of the cannabidiol (nonpsychoactive marijuana extract) as well as those states where the physicians are required to “prescribe” instead of “recommending” medical marijuana. Also, the list excludes states with so-called affirmative defense laws.
On the other hand, there are only 8 states where recreational marijuana is legalized by law:
In addition to these states, recreational use is also allowed in Washington D.C.
The legalization of marijuana for recreational use triggers off an entirely new economy that doesn’t only covers the sale of marijuana, but also oils, paraphernalia, lotions, and edibles. A number of organizations are putting a lot of effort to support and advertise these industries.
Hopefully this will help the marijuana retail market boost sales in coming years. Stay tuned for more updates!