The use, sale, possession, cultivation and transportation of cannabis in the United States is illegal at the federal level. Cannabis is still nationally classified as a level 1 drug, corresponding to drugs with high potential for abuse and without recognized medical use.
However, the government announced that states could at their own level legislate on the decriminalization of marijuana, for recreational or medical use, and if a regulatory system was put in place.
Curious if it is legal to grow cannabis? Here is the list of the 50 American states, classified by level of legislation:
States in the US where cannabis is legalized
Here is a list of states where cannabis is legalized:
- South Dakota
- Washington State
- New Jersey
Possession was legalized on November 4, 2014. Alaskans can carry up to 28 grams of weed and can grow up to 6 feet personally. With a permit you can also grow professionally. Therapeutic use is permitted.
Recently, Alaska legalized cannabis lounges. So far it is the only state to have done so.
Arizona legalized recreational cannabis in November 2020 through proposition 207. The new law allows people 21 years of age or older to own up to one ounce of cannabis (28g) and grow up to 6 plants for non-commercial purposes in a private residence (the so called “home grows)”. Medical cannabis was legalized there in November 2010 by popular vote.
California legalized cannabis on November 8, 2016. Legalization took effect on January 1, 2018. It allows the possession of 28 grams of weed or 8g of concentrates, the cultivation of 6 plants of cannabis indoors. Prior to this, cannabis was only permitted in a therapeutic setting.
Without a medical prescription, possession of fewer than 28 grams of weed did not result in jail, but a fine of $ 100. With a prescription, California patients can possess up to 224 grams (8 ounces), grow six flowering plants and 12 growing plants.
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana on November 5 via Proposition 215, 1996, while the first law on the reduction of sentences for possession of marijuana dated from July 1975 (it was then a crime to a minor offense).
As of January 1, 2014, Colorado residents can legally purchase up to 28 grams to be consumed exclusively at home. They can also grow up to 6 feet in their homes.
South Dakota was the first US state to simultaneously legalize medical and recreational cannabis, in November 2020. The state law takes effect on July 1, 2021. On that date, all adults under the age of 21 or more may have a total of one ounce (28g) of cannabis and no more than 8g of concentrate. Self-cultivation will be allowed, up to 3 plants per person and a limit of 6 plants per household.
District of Columbia
Possession is legal up to 57 grams since February 26, 2015. However, the sale is restricted to therapeutic patients. Therapeutic use has been permitted since 2009. Recreational cultivation is permitted up to 6 plants, but with only three plants flowering at the same time. Initiative 71 was voted on November 4, 2014.
As of June 2014, adult residents of Washington State can purchase up to 28 grams of marijuana. Only therapeutic users can grow at home. Marijuana sellers, distributors, and growers must all have a license issued by the state.
As of 2016, possession of fewer than 10 grams was a simple offense punishable by a fine of $100 to $200. On the other hand, above 10 to 30 grams, could lead to a prison sentence of up to one year as well as a fine of several thousand dollars.
As of January 1, 2020, cannabis was legal in Illinois for adults aged 21 and older, initiated by the state government and not by a citizens' referendum.
Maine legalized cannabis on November 8, 2016, with legal sales beginning August 1, 2017. Medical marijuana has been legal there since November 2, 1999. Possession up to 75 grams was decriminalized on May 1, 2009. The cities of Portland and South Portland legalized possession of fewer than 75 grams on November 5, 2013.
Recreational cannabis was legalized there on November 8, 2016, by 53.5% of voters. It authorizes the personal cultivation of 6 plants and the possession of 280g of cannabis. Possession of fewer than 28 grams was decriminalized on November 4, 2008 (punishable by a fine of up to $100 at the time). Medical marijuana was legalized on November 6, 2012, by referendum with 60% yes.
The state legalized recreational cannabis in the 2018 legislative (mid-term) election. The measure, put to a popular vote, was approved by 56.8% to 43.2%.
Individuals are allowed to have 283 grams of cannabis in their homes but (only) 70 grams in public places. They can also grow 12 plants. Legal sales have not yet started.
Montana legalized cannabis in November 2020 through Initiative 190 which allows the consumption, production, and sale of cannabis by adults. Medicinal cannabis has been legal there since 2014.
Cannabis was legalized in the vote on November 8, 2016, with permission to personally grow 6 feet of cannabis. Possession of cannabis was already decriminalized there for adults. Medical use has been legal since November 7, 2000.
New Jersey legalized cannabis in November 2020 with 67% of the vote. Therapeutic use has been authorized since January 18, 2010.
Possession of 28 grams of weed was legalized on July 1, 2015. Residents over the age of 21 can, from January 1, 2016, possess up to 224 grams of cannabis and grow up to 4 feet of cannabis per household. It is, however, illegal to carry more than 28 grams in public.
Measure 91 was passed on November 4, 2014. In November 2020, the state decriminalized all drugs and legalized psilocybin therapy.
As of July 1, 2018, cannabis for recreational use will be legalized. Adults over the age of 21 will be eligible to own up to 28 grams of cannabis as well as four seedlings and two mature plants. Cannabis sales remained illegal until October 2020, when the governor gave his approval. Vermont proceeded with the passage of a law instead of the traditional popular consultation.
State in the US where marijuana is decriminalized
Below you find an overview of states where cannabis is decriminalized, which includes:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New York State
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- Rhode Island
Possession of less than 14g does not result in jail time and a maximum fine of $ 200. Beyond that, consumers risk 45 days in prison and a fine of $ 1,000. Possession of more than 4.5kg is considered intent to sell and is punishable by 18 years in prison and a $ 100,000 fine. In March 2015, a proposal to legalize therapeutic cannabis was blocked by the State House of Representatives, with a blocking period of 2 years.
Cannabis use is only permitted for therapeutic purposes. Personal and recreational possession is decriminalized but may be accompanied by fines for minors, and loss of license for adults.
The state has decriminalized possession of fewer than 14 grams of cannabis from a misdemeanor to a fine and punishable offense. It also downgraded offenses for possession of more than 14 grams which are no longer considered crimes but misdemeanors.
decriminalized since June 19, 2015. Recreational consumers face fines of up to $ 100 for possession of fewer than 28 grams. Medical consumption is permitted.
New York State
Possession is decriminalized, but smoking cannabis remains prohibited. Consumption of consumables, oil, pills, or vaporizers is restricted to therapeutic patients, effective January 7, 2016, when the medical cannabis program opened in New York City. Selling less than 25 grams remains an offense. The governor has promised the legalization of recreational cannabis, but it is slow in coming.
Possession of fewer than 10 grams was decriminalized on October 1, 2014 (laws passed on April 14, 2014). The first possession offense carries a fine of $ 100, the second $ 250, the third $ 200, and a duty of care. Therapeutic use is legal and overseen by commissions that issue permits for growers, clinics, doctors, and patients. Voted in 2013, it returned to action in 2017.
Possession of 30 grams or less for a first offense carries a fine of only $ 250. Medical cannabis was legalized there in November 2020 for 22 qualifying medical conditions. Patients can get 2.5 ounces (70g) of medical cannabis every 14 days. Self-cultivation is not allowed.
In 2014, the state set out to review the criminal code for cannabis offenses. Under 10 grams and for a first offense, cannabis users only incur a penalty of $ 500. However, the state still considers possession of cannabis a criminal offense.
Possession of 42.5 grams or less is punishable by a maximum of $ 200 for personal use. Smoking weed is still prohibited. It is only allowed medically and in the form of oil, pills, or vapor.
Possession of less than an ounce of cannabis (about 28 grams), as a first offense, only comes with a fine of up to $ 300 and drug prevention sessions. The second offense will result in a fine of up to $ 500 and 5 days in jail. The third offense can lead to a fine of $ 500 and a week in jail.
Since 2017, possession of small amounts of cannabis has gone from being a misdemeanor to being a ticket. Users arrested in possession of fewer than 21 grams of cannabis can only be fined $ 100. This amount increases to $ 300 for a third recurrence over a three-year period. After the 4th repeat offense in the same period, law enforcement can initiate criminal proceedings.
As of April 2019, below 14 grams, cannabis users are only liable to a $ 50 fine. Possession of small amounts of cannabis has gone from being a misdemeanor to being a ticket.
Possession of cannabis is still considered a criminal offense, but under 100 grams it does not result in incarceration, only a fine. At the same time, 18 cities, including two of the state's most populous cities (Toledo and Dayton), have completely decriminalized possession of cannabis.
Possession of 28 grams or less is subject to a $ 150 fine. 3 violations in 18 months would result in heavier fines and possible prison terms. Therapeutic use has been authorized since January 3, 2006, for cancer, HIV, or hepatitis patients. They can possess up to 70 grams of weed and have been supplied to compassion centers since 2009.
State in the US where weed is allowed for therapeutic use
Below you find an overview of states where cannabis is allowed in a therapeutic setting:
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- Rhodes Island
- West Virginia
Legal since November 8, 2016. The distribution of therapeutic cannabis is done through a limited network of 40 dispensaries that will open in spring 2017. The use of marijuana for medical purposes was passed in a referendum in November 2012, but only 48% of voters answered Yes. Possession of fewer than 112 grams continues to be punished with a fine of $ 2,500 and one year in prison.
The therapeutic use of cannabis was legalized in 2012. The medical cannabis program has since been expanded and the state has around 20 dispensaries.
Medical cannabis authorized since November 8, 2016, for a list of specific disorders (glaucoma, cancer, HIV, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, etc.). Patients will be able to get supplies from a dispensary or grow at home if there is no dispensary within 65km around.
The therapeutic use of cannabis has been legal since 2011. Since then changes have been made.
Authorized in smokable form since November 8, 2016. Personal cultivation remains prohibited. Terminally ill patients have access without dose or potency limits.
Possession of fewer than 20 grams remains an offense and may result in a one-year license suspension. Possession of more than 20 grams is a crime.
Only permitted as CBD oil for medicinal purposes. Since 2019, the production and sale of oil have been authorized. Before that, patients had to buy on the black market or out of state.
Only therapeutic use is authorized, since June 15, 2000.
Therapeutic use legalized since January 1, 2014 (decree signed August 1, 2013). Since August 2016, Illinois has also decriminalized possession of recreational cannabis: possession of fewer than 10 grams is now classified as a civil offense, and the fine is up to $ 200.
Therapeutic use only. Since June 30, 2015, the penalties have been significantly reduced, but remain heavy. The first offense of possession is punishable by a fine of $ 300 and imprisonment for 15 days, the second with a fine of $ 1000 and six months in prison, the third with a fine of $ 2,500 and two years in prison, fourth and subsequent $ 5,000 in fines and 8 years in prison. Prohibition of growing and consumption of cannabis should not be carried out in a smokable form.
The therapeutic use of medical cannabis was legalized in 2014, but the implementation of the medical cannabis program has been very slow. The first dispensaries did not open until 2017.
The state legalized medical cannabis in 2014 for nine conditions. Since then, activists have tried to expand the medical cannabis program.
Cannabis has been legal since the legislative elections in November 2018, including self-cultivation.
Medical marijuana has been authorized since July 23, 2013. Without a prescription, consumers face 1 year and jail time and $ 2,000 in fines. Since 2017, possession of fewer than 21 grams has been decriminalized, the fine incurred now stands at $ 100 or even $ 300 for repeat offenses.
Medical cannabis has been legal since April 2007.
Cannabis is decriminalized there and therapeutic use was legalized in June 2016, with implementation on September 8, 2016.
While Oklahoma was one of the toughest states on cannabis (possession of a grinder, space cake, or hashish could result in life imprisonment), the state has just authorized the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Patients can have up to 224 grams of cannabis, 6 flowering, and 6 growing plants at a time, as well as edibles and concentrates.
Possession of fewer than 30 grams is an offense punishable by 30 days in jail and a $ 500 fine. For more than 30 grams, one year in prison and $ 5,000 in fines. Medical cannabis was authorized in April 2016.
The legalization of the therapeutic use of cannabis was passed by the state in 2006. Self-cultivation is allowed.
Since the legislative elections in November 2018, the therapeutic use of cannabis has been legal.
A law to legalize medical cannabis was passed in 2017, but no dispensary is operational yet.
State in the US where cannabis is illegal
Below you see an overview of states where cannabis still is illegal:
- South Carolina
Possession of cannabis for personal use is illegal and punishable by a fine of $ 6,000 and a year in jail for a first offense. Intent to sell is punished with a fine of $ 15,000 and jail time of up to 10 years. The actual sale is punishable by 20 years in prison and a $ 30,000 fine, or $ 60,000 if the sale is made to a minor.
The first offense of possession of cannabis can be punished with a one-year probation.
Possession of fewer than 85 grams (3 ounces) for personal use is an offense punishable by up to one year in prison and a $ 1,000 fine. If more than 85 and less than 450 grams, it is a felony punished with 5 years in prison and a fine of $ 10,000.
Possession is punishable by 6 months in prison and a fine of $ 1,000. The use of medical marijuana is prohibited.
Possession of any amount is classified as a misdemeanor for the first three offenses. After three offenses, smokers can be sent to rehab. Selling or cultivation is punishable by a fine of $ 100,000 if a minor is involved or if there is a school within 300 meters.
A bill was proposed on January 10, 2013, that would allow therapeutic patients to grow up to 12 plants and carry 180 grams of medical marijuana with them. The bill has been "stuck" in the twists and turns of the administration since February 28, 2014.
Possession of cannabis is therefore still punishable by one year in prison and a $ 1,000 fine for a first offense. The second offense can lead to a fine of $ 100,000. The third up to $ 300,000.
Possession of fewer than 230 grams is an offense, as is the possession of 5 plants. Beyond that, it is a crime. Therapeutic use is not legalized.
Possession of fewer than 14 grams remains an offense punishable by one year's probation, except where marijuana is used in the form of oil to treat seizures, with a prescription.
Cannabis oil has been legal since June 1, 2015. Possession of fewer than 56 grams can be punished with 6 months in prison and a $ 2,000 fine. Several influential politicians are currently calling for reform of the marijuana law.
30 days in jail, a $ 500 fine, and loss of driver's license for a first offense. Citizens can choose a program for first-time offenders, with general interest work, drug classes, and loss of driver's license for just 6 months.
No bill pending
Being under the marijuana empire can be punished with 90 days in jail and a $ 100 fine. Possession of fewer than 85 grams can result in a one-year prison sentence and a $ 1,000 fine.
Native American reservations
Note that some Native American reservations have the right to produce and consume marijuana, while other uninhabited territories such as American Samoa still prohibit the use of cannabis.