Marijuana Legality (21 Legal Marijuana States)

Marijuana Legality - Legal Marijuana States - Recreational Weed States - Cannabis Laws By State

Marijuana legality is a hot topic in America.

Under federal law, cannabis is still illegal.

But individual states come up with their own marijuana laws.

Let’s dig into the marijuana legality on a state-by-state basis.

And talk about:

  • what states have legalized marijuana (fully legal marijuana states)
  • recreational weed states
  • states where medical marijuana is legal
  • marijuana laws by state
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Federal Marijuana Laws

Your state may have legalized marijuana for recreational use and medical use.

But federal marijuana legalization has not happened yet.

Per federal marijuana laws, all marijuana use remains illegal.

Marijuana is a Schedule I drug on the federal level.

Along with heroin and cocaine, according to the Controlled Substances Act.

You can follow state laws but violate federal marijuana laws.

But in 2013, the Department of Justice updated its marijuana policy.

They are not interfering with the recreational and medical use of cannabis.

Their focus is:

  • marijuana sales that fund gangs
  • distribution of cannabis to minors
  • money laundering from marijuana sales
  • violence and firearm use in cannabis distribution
  • cannabis use on federal property (national parks)

But in 2018, the Trump administration reversed the 2013 marijuana policy.

And now allows the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

Regardless of the state’s level of marijuana legality.

Related: How Many People Are In Jail For Weed

Fully Legal Marijuana States

Where is weed legal for recreational and medical use?

These are states where weed legality has passed for all adult-use cannabis.

They allow adults to use medical marijuana and recreational cannabis.

But even in states where weed is legal, it’s still illegal to sell it.

You can buy from dispensaries that have licenses for retail sales.

Most of these dispensaries sell:

  • THC concentrates
  • CBD with THC
  • edibles
  • medical cannabis
  • recreational marijuana

Most of these states even allow you to grow your own cannabis plants.

How Many States Have Legalized Weed Fully?

Here’s a list of the states that have legalized weed fully:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.

Recreational Weed States

These are states where marijuana is legal and decriminalized for adult use.

Anyone over 21 years old can be in possession of recreational marijuana.

Marijuana sales still need to happen at a licensed dispensary.

Meaning it’s illegal to purchase recreational weed from individuals.

The most common legal amount for possession is one ounce of marijuana.

But each state has its own possession laws for:

  • recreational marijuana
  • how many marijuana plants you can have (if any)
  • amounts of THC concentrates

Recreational Marijuana Legalized Map

Here is a map of the recreational weed states.

Where marijuana legalities have passed for adult use of cannabis.

Legal Marijuana States - Recreational Weed States - Where Is Weed Legal - States That Legalized Weed

Here’s a list of the recreational marijuana states:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.

Medical Marijuana States

Let’s look at states where medical marijuana is legal.

These medical marijuana states have cannabis policies that:

  • protect medical use of marijuana from criminal penalties
  • give patients access to medical cannabis via medical dispensaries
  • allow patients to consume higher THC medical cannabis

Medical Marijuana Use

California passed marijuana legalities in 1999 that legalized medical marijuana use.

After this, the Insitute Of Medicine published a study on the uses of medical marijuana.

They tested the effectiveness of medical cannabis on:

  • pain relief
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • appetite stimulation (not suppression)

But they claimed that the side effects of medical cannabis were undesirable.

For example, someone seeking pain relief may not also want:

  • anxiety reduction (who wouldn’t want that?)
  • sedation
  • euphoria

They claimed that these side effects make medical cannabis less than ideal.

Other studies have gone on to prove that medical cannabis is good for treating:

  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • cancer
  • glaucoma
  • multiple sclerosis

Is Medical Weed Federally Legal?

On the federal level, medical cannabis is also a Schedule I substance.

The Supreme Court rules that marijuana has a high potential for dependency.

And they make no exceptions for medical cannabis use.

(But they make exceptions for opioids…)

The state legislature has gotten passed recently to legalize medical marijuana use.

But, there have been ballot initiatives for the medical use of cannabis in previous decades.

In 1998 Washington D.C. tried to pass a ballot initiative for medical weed.

The District of Columbia tried passing Initiative 59.

But Congress blocked Washington D.C.’s ballot initiative.

Arizona’s Gov Symington tried creating medical marijuana legality in 1996.

With Proposition 200 – the Drug Medicalization, Prevention, and Control Act.

This ballot initiative would have allowed doctors to write prescriptions for medical cannabis.

This broke federal laws surrounding Schedule I drugs.

So, the Senate shut it down.

Related: Can Felons Vote?

How Many States Have Medical Weed?

32 states have gone on to legalize medical marijuana.

The ones that have not legalized medical cannabis are:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

States Where Medical Marijuana Is Legal

Medical Marijuana States - States Where Medical Marijuanas Is Legal - Legalized Medical Cannabis States

The states where medical marijuana is legal are:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.

Marijuana Legality By State

StateRecreationalMedical DecriminalizedMarijuana State Laws
New HampshireNoYesYesNew Hampshire
New JerseyYesYesYesNew Jersey
New MexicoYesYesYesNew Mexico
New YorkYesYesYesNew York
North CarolinaNoYesYesNorth Carolina
North DakotaNoYesYesNorth Dakota
Rhode IslandYesYesYesRhode Island
South CarolinaNoNoNoSouth Carolina
South DakotaNoYesNoSouth Dakota
Washington, D.C.YesYesYesWashington, D.C.
West VirginiaNoYesNoWest Virginia
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