In 1996, California, the first state where marijuana, legal for both medical and recreational use, led the nation in groundbreaking cannabis reform in the United States. Following in California’s footsteps, the next two states where marijuana, legal for both medical and recreational use, were Washington and Colorado. Is marijuana legal in your state? If not, hang tight because it is a coming. If you are like me, and live in a state where marijuana is not yet legal then you are probably sitting on the edge of your seat and biting your nails waiting on the day to happen. To understand where we came from, where we are now and where we are going in terms of the legalization of marijuana, please allow me to give you a little backstory. The backstory will be followed by exposing the now and discussing all states where marijuana is legal today.
The Farm Bill passed in the Senate with 87 for and 13 against the proposal. The House of Representatives followed suit with 369 to 47 votes in favor. The bill was signed into law on December 20, 2018, by President Trump.
What the bill, now law, has done is legalized hemp and define it as an agricultural product. Hemp is a member of the cannabis sativa family, exclusively. Unlike marijuana, hemp contains less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a cannabinoid found in the plant.
Marijuana can derive from either the cannabis sativa or the cannabis indica species. Depending on the strain, THC levels in marijuana can be as high as 30%.
Both hemp and marijuana contain cannabidiol (CBD for short), a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid. Hemp contains a significant amount of CBD but It will not give you the “high” associated with marijuana.
The distinct difference here is that hemp products are made from the seeds of the plant, whereas recreational or medicinal products are made from the flowers of the plant, specifically marijuana.
The federal government banned the cultivation, use or sale of the cannabis plant some 80 years ago when marijuana prohibition began. On the federal level, it remains illegal to this day. Prohibition reversal has gained support worldwide as of late, making it a hot topic in the news and elsewhere.
All States Where Marijuana Is Legal (US)
Statistics claim that the legalization of marijuana is supported by over half of Americans, millennials making up a large percentage.
Canada became the first Group of Seven country to legalize marijuana federally. They did so some 4 short months ago, paving the way for Mexico to follow its lead after their supreme court ruled that the prohibition of marijuana is unconstitutional.
So what about here in the states? Vermont was the first state in the US to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Rather than a ballot initiative, it did so through its legislature when the bill was signed into law by the governor. Oklahoma, Michigan, Missouri and Utah are among the ten states and Washington, DC that have followed Vermont’s lead for adults over the age of 21.
Marijuana for medical purposes has been legalized in a total of 33 states to date.
Medical Marijuana vs Marijuana For Recreational Use
- Medical Marijuana
- marijuana that is recommended by a physician for the treatment of a medical condition.
- Marijuana For Recreational Use
- marijuana used for its psychoactive effects (without medical justification) ofttimes thinking that intermittent use is not addictive or habit-forming.
All States Where Marijuana Is Legal - Medical & Recreational Use
|State Name||Med Legal||Rec Legal||Med Law||Med Use ||Med Grow||Age||Rec Use||Rec Grow
|Alaska||1998||2/24/15||Ballot Measure8 ||1 oz (use)||6||21+||1 oz||6|
|California||11/5/1996||11/08/16||Proposition 215||8 oz (use)||6-12||21+||1 oz||6|
|Colorado||2000||01/01/14||Ballot Amendment 20 ||2 oz (use)||6||21+||1 oz||6|
|DC||2010||2/26/15||Amendment Act B18-622||2 oz dry||21+||2 oz||6|
|Maine||1999||12/18/16||Senate Bill 611 ||2.5 oz (use)||6||21+||2.5 oz||3|
|Massachusetts||2012||07/28/17||Ballot Question3||10 oz (use)||21+||1 oz||6|
|Michigan||2008||Not yet enacted||Proposal 1 ||2.5 oz (use)||12||21+||2.5 oz||12|
|Nevada||2000||01/01/17||Ballot Question9||2.5 oz (use)||12||21+||1 oz||6|
|Oregon||1998||07/01/15||Ballot Measure6||24 oz (use) ||24||21+||1 oz||4 pp|
|Vermont||2004||7/1/18||Sen Bill 76/HB645||2 oz (use)||9||21+||1 oz||2 pp|
|Washington||1998||12/06/12||Initiative 692||8 oz (use)||6||21+||1 oz||Illegal|
The chart above is two-fold. First is the subject of legalized marijuana for medical use. California was the first state to do so by passing Proposition 215 on November 5, 1996. The state set possession limits of 8 oz for use, 6 mature plants or 12 immature plants in this groundbreaking legislation. The time frame of this chart for the purpose of illustrating the legalization of medical marijuana is from 1996-2012.
As mentioned above, 10 states plus the District of Columbia have since legalized marijuana for recreational use. This chart is a representation of those states. It is interesting to note that from 1996-2012, eight states that had legislation in place for medical marijuana use (Rhode Island, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut) have yet to enact laws that will allow for recreational use.
Recreational Legislation Begins
Recreational legislation began in 2012. Washington and Colorado were the front runners in this movement. You will see illustrated in this chart of the top ten that each of them have restricted the age limit to 21+ years. The possession and growing limits vary from state to state. Other variables include where consumption is permitted, commercial production and retail sales.
Here are some examples:
In Oregon, the 1 oz possession limit is what an individual is allowed on their person at any given time. They are allowed to possess up to 8 oz total in their home.
In the District of Columbia, the sale, purchase and public consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes remains illegal.
In Massachusetts, households with more than one adult are allowed to grow up to 12 plants. They cannot, however, be visible from the street. Up to 10 oz can be stored for future use per household, more if harvested from home. Smoking while driving is illegal, much like that of alcohol. Furthermore, residents of Massachusetts are not allowed to smoke in public. Any bartering or unlicensed sales are not illegal for the buyer but they are for the seller. Lastly, marijuana grown in someone’s home can be given away for no charge without any legal ramifications.
What Is Your Status?
The map of the US below is a pictorial representation of the current status of each state. The states in blue have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Those in dark green have legalized medical marijuana. If the state is light green, medical use is limited based on THC content. A red letter D indicates states that have decriminalized legislation in place. In Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota, the states in gray, cannabis consumption of any kind is currently outlawed. This includes laws which have not yet gone into effect. Cannabis remains a Schedule I drug under federal law. Some Indian reservations have legalization policies separate from the states they are located in. Cannabis is illegal in all federal enclaves.
US Map (Diagram 2)
(Dark Green) Legal for medical use
(Light Green) Legal for medical use, limited THC content
(Grey) Prohibited for any use
(Various) D – Decriminalized
*This resource is courtesy of Lokal_Profil, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2370050. A copy of their license can be viewed here. No changes were made in its use. The licensor does not in any way endorse Cannabis World Today or its use of this resource.
All States Where Marijuana Is Legal: Medical Use
Below, I list states where marijuana, legal for medical purposes, have passed and approved laws. This list is in addition to the 10 states from the above chart that have legalized medical marijuana. Note that the states in bold, aforementioned above, are those that had legislation in place from 1996-2012. The others did not legalize medical marijuana until after 2012.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
All States Where Marijuana Is Legal: Partially
– Based on THC Content
Below, I list states where marijuana, legal (partially) for medical use are restricted based on the THC content of any given product.
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments below. You could even share the state in which you live and give us your thoughts about legalization or lack thereof.