“Is cannabis legal in my state?” is a common question, but navigating cannabis laws by state is challenging. Cannabis is illegal per federal law but there’s no ban on state-by-state legalization.
There’s no simple division between recreational and medical marijuana, also known as MMJ. Some states are strict about who qualifies for their medical cannabis programs whereas others are much laxer.
Read this quick guide on cannabis law in the United States for some clarity.
States With Legal Cannabis for Specific Medical Uses
Some states recognize the medical benefits of cannabis, but only let a small group of people use it.
Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Rhode Island, Utah, and West Virginia all limit qualified medical conditions. Most list between 10 and 15 diagnoses, though others include more or fewer. Some states and cities decriminalize the substance, but recreational use isn’t legal.
States With Broad-Ranging Medical Cannabis Laws
Apart from states that allow both medical and recreational cannabis, there are some states with looser medical cannabis laws.
Hawaii allows cannabis for medical use if a doctor agrees the patient will benefit. Oklahoma has an MMJ application that needs a physician’s signature, but no specified diagnosis. Louisiana has a similar program as of 2020, and the drug is decriminalized.
South Dakota is a special case, with recreational use still a felony, harsher than most states’ misdemeanor laws. Residents voted to legalize cannabis but a state ruling shot it down. Medical use there is difficult to navigate but is legal, with active lawsuits trying to instate recreational use.
States Where Cannabis Is Legal for Medical and Recreational Purposes
Many western states legalized both MMJ and recreational cannabis. These include Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. Alaska, not too far away from those states, also permits legal cannabis use.
Illinois, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and Washington DC—while not a state—finish the list of US regions where the drug’s allowed.
Your Options Everywhere Else
If you read this and don’t see the place where you live in these lists, you might be wondering, “When is cannabis legal in my state?”
As of late 2020, there were 8 states that may legalize the substance. Some of them succeeded while others continue arguments, as you read above.
There’s also a push for federal legalization from members of Congress and others. National law could change soon due to potential tax revenue.
For now, people without other access can enjoy the benefits of cannabis by using CBD from hemp. Since 2018, CBD is federally legal. You’ll be happy to learn that hemp flower is like smoking weed without the high from THC.
Yet, be careful smoking hemp where marijuana’s banned. Authorities may not hear your reasoning even if packaging explains the product. Laws should have your back unless you violate state smoking regulations, but it could be a rough battle.
More Must-Know Facts Like Cannabis Laws by State
Now that you know these cannabis laws by state, you have a good idea of where you can use this versatile drug in the USA.
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