Despite federal restrictions on cannabis, many states have made great strides in legalizing and regulating the plant for medicinal and recreational purposes.
While not all Americans have access to cannabis41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have established medical marijuana programs, with 23 of those states fully legalizing or decriminalizing adult use of cannabis.
As of November 2022, here is a comprehensive, up-to-date list of the legality of cannabis and cannabis products across the United States.
AlabamaThe medical marijuana program was approved in 2021, but as of June 2022, there are no doctors certified to issue prescriptions, no licensed dispensaries, and no legal cultivation of cannabis products.
Alaska Medical marijuana was legalized in 1998, and since 2015 it has been legal to possess and sell cannabis in the state.
Arizona Medical marijuana has been legal since 2010, and recreational marijuana will become legal once a legalization measure that overwhelmingly passed in the 2020 election is approved.
Arkansas Only medical marijuana is allowed, and its cultivation is illegal.
California: The first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, and the sale of recreational marijuana was approved by voters in 2016.
Colorado Recreational cannabis was approved in 2012, and it is also legal to grow up to six marijuana plants privately in the state.
Connecticut Recreational cannabis was legalized on July 1, 2021, and home cultivation is permitted starting July 1, 2023.
Delaware Marijuana was decriminalized in 2015 and medical marijuana legalized in 2011, but only a bill to legalize recreational marijuana sales cleared its first legislative hurdle in 2019.
Florida Medical marijuana is allowed but not recreational, and Georgia only allows low-THC oil as part of its limited medical program.
Hawaii Recreational marijuana was decriminalized in 2019 and medical marijuana legalized.
Illinois: Legalization of medical and recreational cannabis, with the state legislature passing the law in lieu of a ballot initiative.
Louisiana Medical marijuana approved, but only allows the purchase of certain types of cannabis. Maine legalized recreational cannabis in 2016, but retail stores haven’t opened yet.
Maryland It recently became the 20th state to legalize recreational cannabis, with the program set to go into effect in July 2023, while medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2014.
Massachusetts: Legal for medical and recreational use; There is no reciprocity with other nations; An adult can grow up to 12 plants.
Michigan: Legal for medical and recreational use; reciprocity with other nations; An adult can grow privately up to 12 plants.
Minnesota: legal for medical use only; decriminalization of possession of small amounts; There is no reciprocity with other nations; Home cultivation is not allowed.
Mississippi: legal for medical use only; No driver yet; limited reciprocity with other nations; recreational use is illegal; Not criminalizing possession of small amounts for the first offense only.
Missouri: Legal for medical and recreational use; There is no reciprocity with other nations; Recreational use sales are expected to begin in December 2022.
Montana: Legal for medical and recreational use; There is no reciprocity with other nations; Residents can grow up to four plants in the home.
New Hampshire: legal for medical use only; decriminalization of possession of small amounts; reciprocity with other nations; Farming is illegal.
New Jersey: Legal for medical and recreational use; There is no reciprocity with other countries.
New Mexico: Legal for medical and recreational use; reciprocity with other nations; Houseplanting of up to six mature plants is permitted.
New York: Legal for medical and recreational use; There is no reciprocity with other nations; Public consumption is permitted in some places.
North Dakota: decriminalization of marijuana possession and approved medical marijuana, while ohio and
Pennsylvania Medical marijuana approved and possession is not criminalized.
Oklahoma: approved medical marijuana and allows patients to grow their own plants.
Oregon: Legalizes medical and recreational marijuana and allows residents to grow their own plants.
Rhode Island: Medical and recreational marijuana has been legalized, and retail sales are expected to begin soon.
South Dakota: Medical marijuana approved but recreational use still illegal after challenge from governor.
Texas: Limited medical programs and possession is illegal except for those with medical clearances.
Utah: Approved medical marijuana and decriminalized recreational use.
Vermont: Legalizes medical and recreational marijuana and allows residents to grow their own plants
Virginia: Both medical and recreational cannabis use is permitted, with a possession limit of one ounce for adults.
Washington: One of the first states to legalize recreational cannabis, with medical cannabis also legal.
West Virginia: Medical cannabis is legal, but recreational use is not.
Washington, DC: Medical cannabis and possession of up to 2 ounces of recreational cannabis is allowed, but the sale of recreational cannabis is still illegal.
As we have seen, the legal status of cannabis varies greatly across different states in the United States. While some states have fully legalized the medical and recreational use of cannabis, others only allow medical use, and some still have strict prohibition laws. However, the tide is turning, with more and more states moving toward legalization in some form.
As attitudes toward cannabis continue to change and more research is done on its potential benefits and drawbacks, it will be interesting to see how these laws evolve in the future. Whatever happens, cannabis will remain a controversial topic in the United States and around the world for many years to come.