Do you want to know if the use of cannabis is legal in your state? There are varying laws and regulations when it comes to the medical or recreational use of cannabis across 50 states.
Whether you are a marijuana business owner or a qualified patient, it is important to know the statutes and restrictions to avoid any trouble with the law. Read on to learn more about the legal status of cannabis in every state.
The Legality of Marijuana in the U.S.
At a federal level, marijuana remains prohibited. It is classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, along with cocaine and heroin.
Controlled substances are considered to have a high potential for abuse and dependency, with little to no medical benefit. Although marijuana use is federally illegal, state laws have varying restrictions. As of now, 48 out of 50 states allow for the use of some medical cannabis products.
Aside from medical purposes, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in the following states:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
- South Dakota
It is important to note that even if marijuana is fully legal in the states mentioned above, individual state laws indicate a certain amount you can possess, carry, or transport.
Every U.S. state except for Idaho and Nebraska has passed a form of legislation permitting medically legal cannabis. However, some states are particularly restrictive.
For instance, low-THC cannabidiol (CBD) oil is the only form of non-medical cannabis allowed in these states: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Legal Status of Cannabis By State
Below is an overview of the legal status and decriminalization of cannabis per state:
|State||Cannabis Legal Status||Decriminalized|
|District of Columbia||Fully Legal||Yes|
|New Hampshire||Medically Legal||Yes|
|New Jersey||Fully Legal||Yes|
|New Mexico||Medically Legal||Yes|
|New York||Fully Legal||Yes|
|North Carolina||Medically Legal||Yes|
|North Dakota||Medically Legal||Yes|
|Rhode Island||Medically Legal||Yes|
|South Carolina||Medically Legal||No|
|South Dakota||Fully Legal||Yes|
|West Virginia||Medically Legal||Yes|
Generally, states with medical marijuana laws have some form of a patient registry that may provide protection against arrest for marijuana possession.
Qualified individuals must have a recommendation from a licensed physician to purchase medical cannabis legally. Patients under a medical marijuana program are only allowed to have a certain amount of cannabis for personal medicinal use.
A total of 36 states have approved comprehensive and publicly available medical marijuana programs. A “comprehensive” program can be determined using the following criteria:
- Protects individuals from criminal penalties for using marijuana for medical purposes
- Allows access to marijuana through home cultivation, a dispensary, or another system that is likely to be implemented
- Allows a variety of products or strains, including those with more than “low THC”
- Permits smoking or vaporization of some kind of marijuana products, whether it is plant material or extract
- Is not a limited trial program (Nebraska and South Dakota have limited trial programs not open to the public.)
The use of cannabis is fully legalized in some states, while others only allow it for medicinal purposes. Understanding the state regulations and restrictions is crucial to maintain compliance with the law. This information will also come in handy, especially if you are traveling from one state to the other.
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