Despite federal restrictions on cannabis, many states have made significant strides in legalizing and regulating the plant for medical and recreational purposes.
While not all Americans have access to cannabis, 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have established medical marijuana programs, with 23 of those states fully legalizing cannabis for adult use or decriminalizing it.
As of November 2022, here is a comprehensive and up-to-date list of the legality of cannabis and its products throughout the United States.
Alabama: Approved a medical marijuana program in 2021, but as of June 2022, there were no doctors certified to issue prescriptions, no licensed dispensaries, and no legal farming of cannabis products.
Alaska: Legalized medical marijuana in 1998, and since 2015, it has been legal to possess and sell cannabis in the state.
Arizona: legal medical marijuana since 2010, and recreational marijuana will become legal once a legalization measure overwhelmingly passed in the 2020 elections is certified.
Arkansas: Only allows medical marijuana, and cultivation is not legal.
California: The first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, and the sale of recreational marijuana was approved by voters in 2016.
Colorado: Legalized recreational cannabis in 2012, and it is also legal to privately grow up to six marijuana plants in the state.
Connecticut: Legalized recreational cannabis on July 1, 2021, and allows home cultivation beginning on July 1, 2023.
Delaware: Decriminalized marijuana in 2015 and legalized medical marijuana in 2011, but only a bill to legalize recreational marijuana sales cleared its first legislative hurdle in 2019.
Florida: Allows medical marijuana but not recreational, and Georgia only allows low-THC oil as part of its limited medical program.
Hawaii: Decriminalized recreational marijuana in 2019 and legalized medical marijuana.
Illinois: Legalized both medical and recreational cannabis, with the state legislature passing the law rather than a ballot initiative.
Iowa: Limited medical cannabis program with only processed cannabis products allowed for sale, while
Louisiana: Approved medical marijuana, but only allows certain forms of cannabis for purchase. Maine legalized recreational cannabis in 2016, but retail stores have yet to open.
Maryland: 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 both medical and recreational use; no reciprocity with other states; adults can grow up to 12 plants.
Michigan: Legal for both medical and recreational use; reciprocity with other states; adults can privately grow up to 12 plants.
Minnesota: Legal for medical use only; possession of small amounts is decriminalized; no reciprocity with other states; no home cultivation allowed.
Mississippi: Legal for medical use only; no operational program yet; limited reciprocity with other states; recreational use is illegal; possession of small amounts is decriminalized for first offense only.
Missouri: Legal for both medical and recreational use; no reciprocity with other states; sales for recreational use expected to start in December 2022.
Montana: Legal for both medical and recreational use; no reciprocity with other states; residents can grow up to four plants at home.
Nevada: Legal for both medical and recreational use; reciprocity with other states; medical patients can grow up to 12 plants.
New Hampshire: Legal for medical use only; possession of small amounts is decriminalized; reciprocity with other states; cultivation is illegal.
New Jersey: Legal for both medical and recreational use; no reciprocity with other states.
New Mexico: Legal for both medical and recreational use; reciprocity with other states; home cultivation is allowed for up to six mature plants.
New York: Legal for both medical and recreational use; no reciprocity with other states; public consumption allowed in some places.
North Dakota: Decriminalized marijuana possession and approved medical marijuana, while Ohio and
Pennsylvania: Approved medical marijuana and decriminalized possession.
Oklahoma: Approved medical marijuana and allows patients to grow their plants.
Oregon: Legalized legalized both medical and recreational marijuana and allows residents to grow their plants.
Rhode Island: Legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, and retail sales are expected to begin soon.
South Dakota: Approved medical marijuana but recreational use remains illegal after a challenge from the Governor.
Texas: Limited medical programs and possession are illegal except for those with medical permits.
Utah: Approved medical marijuana and decriminalized recreational use.
Vermont: Legalized both medical and recreational marijuana and allows residents to cultivate their plants
Virginia: Allows both medical and recreational cannabis use, with a possession limit of up to 1 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: Allows medical cannabis and possession of up to 2 ounces of recreational cannabis, 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 US. While some states have fully legalized both 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 towards legalization in some form.
As attitudes towards cannabis continue to shift and more research is conducted on its potential benefits and drawbacks, it will be interesting to see how these laws evolve in the future. Whatever happens, cannabis will continue to be a hotly debated topic in the US and around the world for many years to come.