Legality of cannabis by U.S. jurisdiction

Map of cannabis laws in the US
Legality of cannabis in the United States
  Legal
  Legal for medical use
  Legal for medical use, limited THC content
  Prohibited for any use
  D  Decriminalized
Notes:
· 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.

In the United States, the use and possession of cannabis is illegal under federal law for any purpose, by way of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Under the CSA, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting even medical use of the drug.[1] At the state level, however, policies regarding the medical and non-medical use of cannabis vary greatly, and in many states conflict with federal law.

The medical use of cannabis is legal (with a doctor's recommendation) in 29 states, plus the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.[2] Seventeen other states have more restrictive laws limiting THC content, for the purpose of allowing access to products that are rich in cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis.[2] In the U.S. jurisdictions that have passed comprehensive medical cannabis laws, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment prohibits the Justice Department from prosecuting individuals acting in accordance with those laws.[3]

The non-medical use of cannabis is legal in 8 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) plus the District of Columbia, and decriminalized in another 14 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands.[4] Commercial distribution of cannabis is allowed in all jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized, except for the District of Columbia. Prior to January 2018, the Cole Memorandum provided some protection against the enforcement of federal law in states that have legalized, but it was rescinded by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.[5]

There are currently three cannabinoid drugs (Marinol, Syndros, and Cesamet) that can be prescribed in accordance with federal law. The drug cannabidiol cannot legally be prescribed (as with whole-plant cannabis), due to the fact that the Drug Enforcement Administration considers it a Schedule I drug.[6] Despite this classification, a number of online retailers sell CBD products to all 50 states, claiming such products are derived from industrial hemp plants and therefore legal.[7] The federal government has so far not taken action against these retailers.[8]

By state[edit]

State Possession Sale Transportation Cultivation Notes

 Alabama

e Medical use of non-psychoactive CBD oil only. Otherwise felony
(1st-offense, personal use possession is a misdemeanor)
felony not clearly stated illegal

First-time possession for personal use may be punished as a misdemeanor, but further personal possession, or intent to sell, can result in felony charges.

 Alaska

a legal medical and recreational use legal to carry up to 1 oz. (28 grams)[9] legal to grow up to 12 plants in a household with two adults over 21,[10] or an unlimited number commercially with a license

Legalized in Measure 2 on November 4, 2014.[11]

 Arizona

d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only

In November 2010, Arizona legalized medical marijuana when the voters passed Proposition 203 with 50.13% of the vote.[12][13][14]

 Arkansas

d medical use only medical use only medical use only

Possession of amounts under three ounces is a criminal misdemeanor; the cities of Fayetteville and Eureka Springs have labeled cannabis the "lowest law enforcement priority". On November 8, 2016, the state legalized medical marijuana when voters passed Issue 6 by 53%.[15]

 California

a legal medical and recreational use legal to carry up to 1oz. (28 grams) legal to grow up to six plants for an individual, or commercially with a license

In July 1975, Governor Jerry Brown enacted Senate Bill 95, which reduced the penalty for possession of one ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis or less to a citable misdemeanor.[16]
On November 5, 1996, California became the first state in the United States to legalize medical marijuana when the voters passed Proposition 215 by 56%.[17]
On November 8, 2016, Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, passed by a vote of 57% to 43%, legalizing the sale and distribution of cannabis in both a dry and concentrated form. Adults are allowed to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for recreational use and can grow up to six live plants individually or more commercially with a license. The law and regulations on recreational cannabis went into full effect on January 1, 2018.

 Colorado

a legal medical and recreational use legal to carry up to 1 oz. (28 grams) legal to grow up to six plants for an individual, or commercially with a license[18]

Colorado Amendment 64 legalized the sale and possession of marijuana for non-medical uses on November 6, 2012, including private cultivation of up to six marijuana plants, with no more than three being mature.[19][20]

 Connecticut

b decriminalized (Legal for medical use only) felony (Legal for medical use only) felony (Legal for medical use only) felony

Possession of less than one half ounce by persons 21 and over results in graduating scale of fines, and seizure of contraband. Under 21 face addition sanctions, to include temporary loss of license to drive.[21]

 Delaware

b decriminalized (civil infraction) medical use only medical use only medical use only

On February 10, 2012, Gov. Markell announced that he was suspending medical marijuana because of a letter from the Obama Justice Department alleging that its implementation would subject those licensed under the law, as well as public servants, to federal criminal prosecution. On 31 August 2016, Gov. Markell signed House Bill 400 into law, to expand medical cannabis programs for people with a terminal illness.[22][23]

 Florida

d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only

On November 8, 2016, the state legalized medical marijuana when voters passed Amendment 2 by 71%.[24] The rules implementing the law started on July 1.

 Georgia

d medical use only medical use only medical use only illegal

Any conviction of a marijuana possession, sale, or cultivation offense results in suspension of driver's license. First-time offenders may be eligible for a conditional discharge under Section 16-13-2 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.), which operates as a dismissal if certain conditions are met, such as the payment of a fine and community service. A measure to allow medical cannabis oil passed the House in February 2015.[25] On April 16, 2015, the non-psychoactive form of Marijuana oil (CBD Oil, also known as "Charlotte's Web") was legalized for medical use in the state.[26]

 Hawaii

d medical use only medical use only Against program rules. medical use only

On June 15, 2000, Governor Benjamin Cayetano signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana.[27][28] On July 14, 2015 the Governor of Hawaii David Ige signed a bill into law allowing medical cannabis dispensaries.[29] On July 14, 2016 David Ige also signed into law expanding medical cannabis programs.[30]

 Idaho

e misdemeanor (85 grams/3 oz. or less) felony not clearly stated felony

Personal use possession of 3 ounces or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment or a fine up to $1,000 or both if for. If the quantity possessed is more than 3 ounces but less than 1 pound, it is a felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment or a fine up to $10,000 or both.[31]

 Illinois

b decriminalized (civil infraction) Misdemeanor (legal for medical use) Misdemeanor (legal for medical use) Misdemeanor (legal for medical use)

Illinois passed the Cannabis Control Act in 1978, which technically allows for medical marijuana. However, in order for it to become an actuality, action is required from two state departments—Human Services and the State Police—neither of which has taken action.[32][33]
On August 1, 2013, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana; the legislation took effect on January 1, 2014.[34]

On March 22, 2017, Illinois lawmakers proposed legalizing recreational marijuana in the state.[35] The measure would also allow residents to possess up to 28 grams of marijuana, or about an ounce, and to grow five plants.

 Indiana

e medical use of non-psychoative CBD oil for patients with epilepsy;[36] misdemeanor (Up to 6 months, $1000 Fine) misdemeanor/felony not clearly stated illegal
  • 1913: prohibited

 Iowa

d medical use only felony not clearly stated felony
  • 2014 CBD legalized

 Kansas

e misdemeanor illegal not clearly stated illegal
  • 1927: prohibited

 Kentucky

e misdemeanor (less than 8 oz (230 g)) misdemeanor (less than 8 oz (230 g); first offense not clearly stated misdemeanor (less than 5 plants)
  • 2014 CBD legalized

 Louisiana

I medical use only medical use only medical use only illegal
  • 1924: prohibited
  • 2015: medical cannabis legalized

 Maine

a legal medical and recreational use legal to carry up to 2.5oz. (71 grams) legal to grow up to six plants for an individual, or commercially with a license
  • 1913: prohibited
  • 1976: decriminalized
  • 1999: medical cannabis[37]
  • 2009: further decriminalization[38][39]
  • 2016: legalized recreational[40]

 Maryland

b decriminalized (10g or less) medical use only medical use only medical use only

On April 14, 2014, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed two pieces of cannabis reform legislation. SB 364 decriminalizes possession of 10 grams or less to a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine for the first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense, and a $500 fine plus possible drug treatment for a third offense. HB 881 legalizes the possession, sale, and production of medical cannabis, and it authorizes the creation of a commission to license dispensaries, doctors, and patients to manage distribution. These two laws do not go into effect until October 1, 2014, prior to the effective date, possession of any amount of marijuana could still be charged and prosecuted.[41][42]

 Massachusetts

a legal medical and recreational use Legal to carry up to 1 oz. (28 grams) Allowed to have 1 ounce of marijuana outside the home and up to 10 ounces inside the home, and to cultivate up to six plants.
  • 2008: decriminalized cannabis when 63% of the populace voted yes on Question 2. The legislation defines possession of 1 ounce or less to be a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine.[43][44]
  • 2012: legalized medical marijuana when voters passed Question 3 by 60%.[45][46]
  • 2016: legalized recreational marijuana when voters passed Question 4 by 54%.[47]

 Michigan

d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only
  • 2008: legalized medical cannabis

 Minnesota

b decriminalized medical use only medical use only illegal
  • 1976: decriminalization[48]
  • 2014: medical cannabis legalized[49]

 Mississippi

c decriminalized (first offense; 30 grams or less) illegal not clearly stated illegal
  • 1978: decriminalized
  • 2014: CBD legalized

 Missouri

e misdemeanor felony not clearly stated illegal
  • 2014: decriminalized
  • 2014: CBD legalized

 Montana

d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only

Personal use possession of 60 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment and a fine of $100 – $500. A second offense is punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment or a fine up to $1,000 or both. Possession of more than 60 grams is a felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment or a fine up to $50,000 or both. Possession of any amount of marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment or a fine up to $50,000 or both.[50]

 Nebraska

c decriminalized (first offense only) illegal not clearly stated illegal

Possession of up to one ounce of cannabis is treated as a civil infraction for the first offense, and as a misdemeanor for the second and third offenses. A fine of up to $300 may be issued for the first offense, along with potential court-mandated drug education courses. A second offense is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to five days' jail time, and a third offense carries up to a $500 fine and a maximum of one week in jail.[51]

 Nevada

a legal medical and recreational use medical and recreational use

On November 7, 2000, Nevada legalized medical marijuana when 65% of the populace voted yes on Question 9.[52][53]
On November 8, 2016, the state legalized recreational marijuana when voters passed Question 2 by 54%.[54]

 New Hampshire

b Decriminalized (up to three-quarters of an ounce) medical use only medical use only medical use only

On July 18, 2017, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill into law decriminalizing possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce.

On July 23, 2013, New Hampshire legalized medical marijuana when Governor Maggie Hassan signed HB 573.[55][56] On July 11, 2015 Governor Maggie Hassan signs a law that expands the medical marijuana law.[57]

 New Jersey

d medical use only medical use only medical use only illegal

On January 18, 2010, New Jersey legalized medical marijuana when Governor Jon Corzine signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. Maximum sentencing of 1 year in prison as a misdemeanor and a 1,000 dollar fine for possession of up to 50 grams.[58][59] On September 19, 2016 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a measure expanding the state’s medical marijuana law, further nullifying federal prohibition in practice. A coalition of representatives introduced Assembly Bill 457 (A457) in January. The new law adds post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify a patient to receive medical marijuana under the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. The Assembly passed A457 on June 16 by a 56-7 vote. After substituting the assembly bill for a Senate version, the Senate passed the measure 28-9 on Aug. 1. Gov. Christie’s signature, the provision went into immediate effect.[60]

 New Mexico

d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only

In April 2007, New Mexico legalized medical marijuana when Governor Bill Richardson signed Senate Bill 523.[61][62]

 New York

b decriminalized (unless open to public view[63]) misdemeanor (25 g or less) not clearly stated misdemeanor

On July 14, 2014, New York legalized medical marijuana when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act into law. The legislation only allows patients to ingest cannabis using edibles, oils, pills, or vaporization, and does not allow smoking of the plant material.[64][65][66]

 North Carolina

c decriminalized (.5 oz or less) illegal illegal illegal
  • 1977: decriminalized
  • 2015: CBD legalized

  North Dakota

d medical use only medical use only medical use only On November 8, 2016, the state legalized medical marijuana when voters passed Measure 5 by 64%.[67]

 Ohio

b decriminalized (civil infraction) medical use only not clearly stated illegal

On June 8, 2016, Governor John Kasich signed legislation legalizing marijuana for medical use.[68]

 Oklahoma

e medical use only illegal not clearly stated illegal
  • 1933: criminalized[69]
  • 2015: governor Mary Fallin signed a bill legalizing cannabis oils for children with epilepsy.[70]

 Oregon

a legal medical and recreational use legal transport of up to 1 oz.; by January 1, 2016: legal transport of larger amounts by marijuana cultivators legal cultivation by adults 21+ of up to 4 plants per household

Oregon voters approved Measure 91 on November 4, 2014, providing for regulated legal possession and sale of set amounts of cannabis.[71][72] Further cannabis reforms were signed into law on July 1, 2015 by Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown.[73][74] More medical cannabis reforms were signed into law on July 28, 2015 by Governor Brown to become effective from October 1, 2015.[75][76] On top of all the cannabis law reforms in Oregon, Governor Brown also signed a bill that sets a cannabis sales tax at 25 percent.[77]

 Pennsylvania

e medical use only illegal illegal illegal

For medical use only. Signed by Governor Wolf on April 17, 2016. Possession of 30g or less is a misdemeanor resulting in up to 30 days incarceration and a fine of up to $500. Possession of more than 30g is a misdemeanor netting up to a year in jail and a $5000 fine.[78]

 Rhode Island

b decriminalized (civil violation) medical use only medical use only medical use only

Possession of an ounce or less is a civil violation with a $150 fine, three violations within 18 months is a misdemeanor with larger fines or prison or both.[79]

 South Carolina

e misdemeanor[80] illegal not clearly stated illegal
  • 2014: governor Nikki Haley signed into law Senate Bill 1035, "Julian's Law", following a unanimous Senate vote and a 92–5 House vote. The law allows children with severe epilepsy to be treated with CBD oil if recommended by a physician.[81]

 South Dakota

e misdemeanor illegal not clearly stated illegal

Personal use possession of 2 oz or less is a Class 1 misdemeanor which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,000.[82]

 Tennessee

e Possession of medical non-psychoactive CBD oil is allowed for patients suffering from seizures; otherwise misdemeanor* (less than 1/2 ounce; first or second offense only). felony not clearly stated misdemeanor: 9 plants or less; felony: 10+ plants

First-time possession offenders can complete one year of supervised probation instead of criminal penalty of one year incarceration; *Possession of 1/2 ounce or more is automatic felony charge: possession for resale. Non-psychoactive CBD oil possession, as of Monday, May 4, 2015, is allowed, due to newly signed legislation, if a person is suffering seizures or epilepsy and has the recommendation of their doctor.[83]

 Texas

e medical use of non-psychoactive CBD oil only; "Cite and Release" in Houston, Dallas, and Austin (for Austin, only for residents of Travis County) felony not clearly stated illegal

"Both the current leadership and candidates for prominent political offices are increasingly calling for marijuana policy reform in the Lone Star State--In Texas, a conviction for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana can result in a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to $2,000.".[84] On June 1, 2015 governor Greg Abbott signed a bill legalizing non-psychoactive CBD oil for medical use.[85]

 Utah

e misdemeanor felony not clearly stated illegal

House bill 105 was introduced by Representative Gage Froerer (R) and has been passed and signed by the governor. This bill would excuse anyone who was in possession of hemp extract. Hemp extract means an extract from a cannabis plant, or a mixture or preparation containing cannabis plant material, that is composed of less than .3% of THC by weight.[86] Possession of less than an ounce can result in a 6-month incarceration and a maximum fine of $1,000. Any amount over 10 ounces can result in a $10,000 fine. Selling of any amount is a felony and will result with 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.[87]

 Vermont

b legal (up to one ounce) illegal medical use only two mature plants four immature

On May 19, 2004, Vermont legalized medical marijuana when Governor James Douglas announced he would allow Senate Bill 76 to pass without his signature.[88] The law was further expanded in June 2007 when Senate Bill 7 passed without Governor Douglas' signature once again.[89]
On June 6, 2013, Governor Peter Shumlin signed legislation (HB200) which decriminalized the possession of 1 ounce or less to a civil infraction.[90] The state house voted on January 4, 2018 to pass H.511, an amended version of the 2017 bill.[91][92][93] The bill would legalize adult personal possession of one ounce of cannabis of and allows individuals to cultivate two plants. The senate passed the bill by voice vote on January 10, 2018, becoming "An act relating to eliminating penalties for possession of limited amounts of marijuana by adults 21 years of age or older", to be sent to the governor who has stated he will sign it into law. Once it becomes law, its provisions will take effect on July 1, 2018.[94][95]

 Virginia

e misdemeanor illegal not clearly stated illegal

A first offense is an "Unclassified Misdemeanor", meaning the maximum penalty is 30 days in jail and a $500 fine (or both), and loss of driving privileges. A subsequent offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 12 months in confinement and a $2,500 fine (or both), plus loss of driving privileges. A first-offense will qualify for a deferred disposition resulting in dismissal. This option requires a drug assessment, classes, community service, and loss of driving privileges for six months. The first-offender program is controversial according to some Virginia criminal defense attorneys and advocates for young men and women in the Commonwealth, primarily because it does not allow the defendant to qualify for expungement, and as a result, remains on the individual's record for life.[96]

 Washington

a legal medical and recreational use legal legal with restrictions and licensing Marijuana was legalized by Washington Initiative 502 in 2012. The law requires state licenses from all sellers, distributors and producers of Marijuana, and permits anyone over 21 to carry one ounce. The state allows licensed growers to cultivate marijuana, but does not permit personal growing in one's home except for medical use.[97]

 West Virginia

d medical use only; misdemeanor medical use only; felony not clearly stated illegal

"Creates the "Compassionate Use Act for Medical Cannabis; providing for protections for the medical use of cannabis..."" [98]

 Wisconsin

e medical use of non psychoactive cbd oil only; misdemeanor on first offense, felony on subsequent offenses[99] felony "An Assembly bill allows qualifying patients to possess 12 marijuana plants and three ounces of marijuana leaves or flowers." [98] felony

A first offense for possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of up to 6 months, or both. A second offense is a Class I felony and is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to 3.5 years, or both.

 Wyoming

e medical use of non-psychoactive CBD oil only; misdemeanor otherwise illegal not clearly stated illegal

"Being under the influence of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 90 days imprisonment and a maximum fine of $100. Possession of three ounces or less is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1000."[100]

State Possession Sale Transportation Cultivation Notes

By Federal district[edit]

District Possession Sale Transportation Cultivation Notes

 District of Columbia

b legal[101] medical use only; no provision for commercial sale legal to carry up to 2 oz. (57 grams) legal to grow up to six plants (only three mature at a time) for recreational purposes; no provision for commercial recreational cultivation
  • 1998: Initiative 59 was voted in to allow medical marijuana, but its effecting was blocked by Congress until 2009.
  • 2014: D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill that decriminalized possession of up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana in the U.S. capital for persons 18 years of age or older. The law made possession a civil violation with a penalty of $25, lower than most city parking tickets.
  • 2014, D.C. voted by ballot Initiative 71 to legalize marijuana possession and cultivation for personal recreational use (commercial production and sale not permitted); the law went into effect 26 February 2015 following 30 days of Congressional review.[102]

By inhabited territory[edit]

State Possession Sale Transportation Cultivation Notes

 American Samoa

e illegal illegal illegal illegal

In 1999, the Territory established a 5-year mandatory minimum sentence for possession of any amount of any illegal drug, to explicitly include marijuana, even when medically prescribed in another jurisdiction.[103]

 Guam

d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only

Residents passed a ballot measure on 4 November 2014 that allows cannabis for medical use only.[104]

 Northern Mariana Islands

e illegal illegal illegal illegal

In 2010, the CNMI House of Representatives approved a legalization bill to regulate and tax marijuana,[105] but the measure ultimately failed.[why?]

 Puerto Rico

e medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only

On May 4, 2015, the governor of Puerto Rico signed an executive order legalizing medicinal marijuana in the U.S territory.[106]

 U.S. Virgin Islands

c decriminalized illegal illegal illegal

By Native-American reservation[edit]

Reservation Possession Sale Transportation Cultivation Notes
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
(South Dakota)
b legal[107] Legal sales since 1 January 2016 One single licensed grow site for the nation In summer 2015, the tribal authorities voted 5–1 to legalize recreational cannabis, making them the first reservation to do so following the 2013 Cole Memorandum.[107]
Suquamish Tribe
(Washington state)
b legal Legal sales since December 2015[108][109] In September 2015, the tribe signed the nation's first tribe-state cannabis pact, under which the tribe would operate a cannabis retail store with regulations paralleling those of Washington state.[110]
Squaxin Island Tribe
(Washington state)
b legal Legal sales since November 2015[111]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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