Marijuana Legalization 101: Which States Have Legalized Cannabis?

marijuana legalization

Marijuana prohibition started about 80 years ago when the federal government banned the ability to sell, grow, and use marijuana in all types of ways. Yes, it’s still illegal on a federal level, but weed has become an ever growing industry.

The sales of legal marijuana skyrocketed to $9.7 billion in North America just last year. This is a full 33% increase from the prior year in 2016. Additionally, these numbers are expected to grow to $24.5 billion by 2021.

With all this legal growth, it’s easy to forget the states where weed isn’t legal. Keep yourself out of trouble and continue reading for more marijuana legalization information based on each state.

Marijuana Legalization by State

Although 64% of Americans are in support of legalized marijuana, it still isn’t completely legal in every state. Recreational marijuana use is legal in 9 states and the District of Columbia. While it is only legal for medicinal purposes in 30 states.

Laws regarding how much you can carry and how you can purchase weed differ based on location. Here’s a full break down of what you can and cannot do legally.


In 2015, marijuana became legal for adults 21 and older to recreationally use, have, and transport up to an ounce of marijuana at a time.

The first pot shop opened in 2016. After that, Alaskan pot shops have become tourist destinations.

The state makes up to $2 billion is marijuana-related revenue on an annual basis.


California was the first state to make medical marijuana legal back in 1996. Now the law allows people 21 and older to buy up to 8 grams of marijuana products, like edibles. And they can grow up to 6 marijuana plants in each household.

However, not everyone in California can smoke legally. Most of the cities in the Central Valley have attempted to ban recreational use.


Weed was fully legalized in Colorado back in 2012. Now, it’s a full-blown weed state. In fact, there are more marijuana dispensaries in Colorado than there are Starbucks and McDonalds restaurants combined.

If you’re 21 and over, you can legally partake and buy up to an ounce of marijuana at a time. Before planning a trip, be mindful that some counties and cities have laws that are more restrictive.


In Maine, residents can carry up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. That’s more than twice the amount that’s allowed in the majority of other states.

There is a downside though. Marijuana can’t legally be purchased within the state at this time.

The first dispensaries in Maine are set to open in 2019.


This is another state where it is legal to have weed on you, but it cannot be purchased. In 2016, it became legal to carry an ounce of marijuana. And you can also grow up to 12 plants at home.


The weed laws in Nevada are very similar to those in other states. If you’re 21 or older, you can buy an ounce of weed at a time. You can also buy one-eighth of an ounce of edibles and similar weed products.

In order to grow marijuana on your property, you need a license and you have to live 25 miles away from a dispensary.


It became legal to carry up to an ounce of marijuana and grow four plants in Oregon in 2015. Edibles can also be given as a gift, but they cannot be eaten in public.

The money that Oregon has made from marijuana sales has gone toward helping schools, state police, the local government and public health initiatives.


There isn’t a legal market that supports the sale and production of marijuana in Vermont yet. But the state does allow residents to carry up to an ounce and grow two plants at home.


To grow marijuana in Washington, it has to be for medicinal purposes. But it’s been legal to purchase weed at dispensaries since its legalization in 2012.

Marijuana has brought in over $1 billion for Washington.

Washington, DC

In DC, it’s legal to possess up to two ounces of marijuana. Up to one ounce can be gifted, without the exchange of money or services.

States with Medicinal Marijuana Use Only

Marijuana is illegal under federal law, despite its legalization in several states. The Federal government also doesn’t see its medical value.

With that said, medical marijuana is known to treat illnesses like eating disorders, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and anxiety. Medical marijuana cards allow people to legally purchase weed for medicinal use without facing criminal charges and penalties.

The states that have made this legal are:

  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland
  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • New York
  • New Hampshire

To get a medical marijuana card, you first need to understand your state’s laws, including the illnesses that are approved for medical marijuana use.

Next, you’ll need to have your medical records to prove your need for it along with a state ID to show you’re a resident. The last thing you’ll need is a recommendation from your doctor.

Be mindful that medical marijuana cards have to be renewed after a year or so in most states.

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You can reap the benefits of cannabis by consuming it in many forms. You can smoke it, use CBD oil, or eat edibles. It’s known to relieve physical pain, anxiety, or simply give you a good high for fun.

Marijuana legalization is majorly impacting the economy throughout the states. While also positively affecting people’s lives by bringing on medical benefits.

If you want to learn more about weed culture or other legal ways to get high, follow our blog. We’ll keep you in the know!