Cannabis Regulations by State
With many touting its therapeutic benefits, like aiding in controlling chronic pain, depression, anxiety, addiction, PTSD, epilepsy, and more, cannabis continues to be a major point of conversation on a global scale. This has made many states revisit their laws in regard to cannabis, with legislators constantly having to answer questions about the plant’s consumption in their state.
Despite being federally illegal, cannabis is a state issue, giving each state the freedom to create their own laws. It can be confusing when trying to figure out the laws in your state, especially when they’re changing so frequently. Cannabis legalization is becoming extremely widespread, so if you are confused as to what the rules and regulations are in your area, feel free to refer to the list below outlining cannabis regulations by state.
Alaska decriminalized cannabis back in 2014 and it is considered legal to use for anyone over 21 years of age. Although cannabis use is not allowed in public places or on federal land, Alaska citizens are allowed to consume, possess, and transport up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use. It is also illegal to drive under the influence when using marijuana.
Find more information here: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/director/pages/marijuana/law.aspx
Cannabis in Arizona is legal for both medicinal and recreational use. As of November 3rd, 2020, possession and cultivation of recreational cannabis became legal. Anyone who is over 21 years of age is allowed to legally have an ounce of marijuana.
Find more information here: https://cannabesecure.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-arizona/
Arkansas is another state that allows medicinal use of cannabis, but not adult recreational use. Possessing cannabis without a medical card will bring about fines and jail time, depending on how much there you possess.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/arkansas-penalties
California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis in 1996, but has since made massive progress for adult recreational use. In 2016, it became legal to consume and possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower, and up to eight grams of cannabis concentrate. Consumers are also allowed to grow plants, but are not allowed to drive under the influence or consume it on federal land.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/california-penalties
Much like California, Colorado was one of the first two states to fully legalize cannabis in 2012. Although some counties have more restrictive laws, adults over the age of 21 can consume and possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower or concentrate.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/colorado-penalties
Connecticut allows for medicinal use of cannabis, but is not fully decriminalized yet. There have been reductions in the penalties for possession and consumption of cannabis.
Find more information here: https://cannabesecure.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-connecticut/
Much like Connecticut, Delaware allows cannabis for medical consumption but has only decriminalized it to a certain degree. Most violations are treated the same as a traffic violation.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/delaware-penalties
District of Columbia
Cannabis is fully legal in the District of Columbia, both for adult recreational use and medical consumption. With no consumption allowed in public places, consumers over the age of 21 can possess up to two ounces, transfer up to one ounce and cultivate up to six plants.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/district-of-columbia-penalties
In 2016, Florida’s legislature passed a bill that made cannabis legal for medicinal consumption. With a valid recommendation from a physician, consumers are allowed a 70-day supply of cannabis and are not allowed to grow their own plants. While cannabis is medically legal in Florida, it remains criminalized for adult recreational use even in small amounts (less than 20 grams).
Find more information here: https://cannabesecure.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-florida/
Georgia is a little tricky with their cannabis laws. Although patients can file for a medical card in the state of Georgia, it is illegal to grow or buy cannabis and isn’t regulated by the state. There are legislators working on finding a way to dispense cannabis, but they aren’t there yet.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/georgia-penalties
Signed in 2000, those living in Hawaii are allowed to use cannabis medically, but not recreationally. Allowing up to four ounces of cannabis, patients can also grow up to seven plants in their home, as long as no more than three of them are mature.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/hawaii-penalties
Illinois allows both medicinal and recreational cannabis legally. Illinois became the eleventh state to legalize recreational marijuana on January 1, 2020. Residents aged 21 or older are allowed to purchase up to 30 grams of marijuana and non-residents are allowed to purchase up to 15 grams.
Find more information here: https://cannabesecure.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-illinois/
Despite not allowing smokable cannabis in Louisiana, medical consumption through non-smoking techniques is allowed. Consumers are allowed a 30-day supply. Louisiana has allowed one state-licensed supply source, which has ten different dispensary locations. Getting your medical marijuana card there is very difficult.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/louisiana-penalties-2
Maine started allowing medical consumption of cannabis in 2000, requiring a medical card that is given to those with a physician’s recommendation. The state now also allows the consumption of cannabis for adult recreational use. You’re allowed up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis, as well as the ability to cultivate up to three plants.
Find more information here: https://cannabesecure.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-maine/
In Maryland, eligible patients are allowed to consume cannabis on a medical basis. With a recommendation from a doctor, patients are allowed to possess a 30-day supply — defined by the state. Patients are not allowed to cultivate cannabis or drive under the influence.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/maryland-penalties-2
Originally passed for medical consumption, Massachusetts has passed a law allowing cannabis consumption recreationally. Patients are allowed up to one ounce or five grams of concentrate. Consumers will not be allowed to drive under the influence or consume in public, but will be allowed to grow up to six plants in their homes.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/massachusetts-penalties-2
Michigan became the first state in the Midwest to allow cannabis consumption for recreational use. Passed in 2018, sales started in 2020 and allow people to possess up to 2.5 ounces away from home, ten ounces at home, 15 grams of concentrate, and up to 12 plants.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/michigan-penalties-2
Although cannabis is allowed medically in Minnesota and is decriminalized, residents are not allowed to consume cannabis without a medical card. Possession of fewer than 42.5 grams will bring a minimum fine of $200. Like all states, driving under the influence is prohibited.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/minnesota-penalties-2
Cannabis for recreational consumption is not currently permitted, but the drug is decriminalized, which means no jail time for first offenses. Despite allowing medical consumption, the state only allows high-CBD, low-THC items. Residents need to be approved by a doctor first.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/mississippi-penalties-2
Missouri follows similar laws to Mississippi, in that they don’t allow adult recreational use, but do have a medical marijuana program. Unlike Mississippi, Missouri does allow the high-THC products, but residents will need a physician’s recommendation in order to get a card. If caught consuming cannabis under the age of 21, the state will suspend your driver’s license.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/missouri-penalties-2
Montana originally passed cannabis for medical purposes. Montana voters passed Initiative 190, which allows marijuana use, production and sale by adults. I-190 allows possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivation of up to four mature plants for personal use.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/montana-penalties-2
Residents in Nevada are not only allowed to consume cannabis medically, but also recreationally. Nevada allows up to one ounce of cannabis and up to 3.5 grams of concentrate. The state currently has 52 of the 66 allowed storefront dispensaries. Cannabis is decriminalized in Nevada.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/nevada-penalties-2
Those with qualifying conditions looking to consume cannabis for medical reasons are allowed in New Hampshire. Patient possession limit is two ounces.
Although New Hampshire hasn’t passed adult recreational use, there are several bills in line that could allow cultivation for medical patients and clear past criminal and court records.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/new-hampshire-penalties-2
Previously, New Jersey was a medical-only state but in February 2021, the state legislature and later Governor Phil Murphy approved a series of bills legalizing and regulating the use, possession and sale of recreational cannabis to adults over the age of 21.
Find more information here: https://cannabesecure.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-new-jersey/
New Mexico allows both medicinal and recreational cannabis. Adults are allowed to purchase and possess up to two ounces of cannabis and/or up to 16 grams of cannabis extract from licensed retailers. April 2022 is the anticipated date for retail sales to begin.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/new-mexico-penalties-2
New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational cannabis. Up to six cannabis plants at home are allowed for personal use and cannabis delivery services and social consumption sites will be allowed. Retail sales are expected by 2022.
Find more information here: https://cannabesecure.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-new-york/
Officially passed in 2016, North Dakota only allows cannabis to be used with a doctor’s recommendation. The first dispensary opened in 2019, where patients can purchase up to 2.5 ounces in a 30-day period, as well as up to 2,000mg of other cannabis products. The medical program continues to grow, but a bill to pass adult recreational use failed in 2018.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/north-dakota-penalties-2
Ohio passed its law in 2016, which allowed the use of cannabis medically. The state remains more strict than most states, but cannabis committees have been meeting often to make the program better. Currently, smoking and combustion are not allowed, but patients can use oils, tinctures, patches, and edibles.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/ohio-penalties-2
Oklahoma legalized medical cannabis in 2018 and currently allows medical patients up to three ounces of possession on their person, six mature plants, one ounce of concentrate, 72 ounces of edibles, and eight ounces in their home. The state continues to see support grow for adult recreational use of cannabis.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/oklahoma-penalties-2
Oregon is one of the few states that offer cannabis for both medicinal and adult recreational use consumption — a list that continues to grow. Passed in 2015, consumers are allowed up to one ounce of cannabis, one ounce of concentrate, 16 ounces of edibles, 72 ounces of liquid versions, four mature plants, and ten seeds.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/oregon-penalties-2
One of the most recent states to legalize medicinal cannabis, Pennsylvania made the move in 2016. With employee protections included for patients, medical use in this state does not allow pre-made edibles. Patients can, however, make their own edibles with items bought in the dispensary, and cannabis flower is now available.
Find more information here: https://cannabesecure.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-pennsylvania/
Although cannabis is decriminalized and allowed medically, adult-use remains illegal. The state is currently seeking to expand its medical program. Fines for up to an ounce of cannabis are $150 at most.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/rhode-island-penalties-2
Currently, marijuana in South Carolina is illegal for recreational use. However, patients with qualifying conditions are allowed cannabis extracts containing more than 15% cannabidiol and not more than nine-tenths of 1% or less THC.
Find more information here: https://cannabesecure.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-south-carolina/
Patients with qualifying conditions and recommendation from physicians may have up to three ounces of medical cannabis from dispensaries licensed by state. Patients in South Dakota may not purchase more than the allowed concentration in a thirty day period.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/north-dakota-penalties-2/
Utah allows cannabis consumption for medical use, but only certain illnesses like cancer and PTSD. Patients who qualify only need a recommendation letter from a physician. For those that live more than 100 miles from a dispensary, up to six plants are allowed for cultivation. Patients are allowed to purchase up to two ounces in a 14-day period.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/utah-penalties-2
Cannabis in Vermont became accessible to medical patients in 2016, with their program continuing to grow. As of 2018, the state extended the consumption of cannabis to those 21 years of age or older. Patients are allowed up to one ounce in their possession, as well as two mature plants in a housing unit.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/vermont-penalties-2
Virginia is the 17th state in America and the first state in the South to allow adult cannabis consumption legally. People aged 21 and over are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in public. “Adult sharing” between persons will be permitted as well.
Find more information here: https://cannabesecure.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-virginia/
Washington currently allows cannabis use to adult recreational use and medical patients. Medical patients can purchase cannabis in some stores tax-free and can purchase up to three times the amount allowed for adult recreational use.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/washington-penalties-2
In 2017, the state of West Virginia made cannabis legal for medical patients. The state has yet to decriminalize cannabis, with possession viewed as a misdemeanor punishable of 90 days to six months for any amount. Driving under the influence is also prohibited.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/west-virginia-penalties-2
For new patients and those unfamiliar with cannabis, confusion is at an all-time high because of the constantly changing legal landscape. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that these laws vary by state and aren’t regulated by the federal government, so be sure you’re aware of the laws in the state you reside in.
If you’re thinking about applying for a dispensary or cultivation license in a certain state and are unsure of the current laws, drop us a line.