Where Is Marijuana Legal in The United States?

Marijuana, also known as weed, pot, herb, grass, bud, Mary Jane is a greenish-gray color mixture of dried flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica plant.

There have been a lot of tough odds regarding legalizing marijuana in the states for a decade. Check to know when and where it was legalized in the US.

Marijuana Legality in the US

It was in 2012 that voters in Colorado approved a ballot initiative that stated legalizing the recreational use and sale of marijuana, making it the first US state to do so.

Most recently, the US House passed a Marijuana Decriminalization Bill on April 1st, 2022. 

People favoring this Bill argue that marijuana is not at all dangerous and point to evidence that it contains various benefits as well.

New Jersey was the recent state to authorize its first legal selling of marijuana to adults 21 years and older from April 2021. 

The advocates also see marijuana as a source for making good money for states and as a necessary social justice initiative. 

What is the Marijuana Bill?

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act or the MORE Act passed by the US House on 1st April 2022 decriminalizes marijuana. It specifically removes marijuana from the list of prohibited substances that were under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for individuals who possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana.  

The Act would also institute a tax on cannabis to help the communities that were impacted since decades of policing focused on nonviolent crimes due to marijuana use. The money incurred from the tax would pay for programs like job training, legal aid, and youth mentoring.

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act is a separate bill drafted in the US Senate regarding marijuana legalization. It would end the federal ban on cannabis and provide the states that are compliant with cannabis business access to various financial services like bank accounts, credit card transactions, and business loans.

States with Legalized Medical Marijuana

11 states prohibit the drug completely but the states that allow marijuana for medicinal purposes are:

  • Mississippi: 2022
  • Alabama: 2021
  • South Dakota: 2020
  • Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah: States that allowed marijuana for medical purposes in 2018 were 
  • Iowa, West Virginia: 2017
  • Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania: 2016
  • Georgia, Louisiana: 2015
  • Minnesota: 2014
  • Maryland: 2013
  • New Hampshire, Delaware: 2011
  • Rhode Island: 2006
  • Hawaii: 2000

The States Where Marijuana is Legal for Recreational Uses

18 states have legalized the adult use of marijuana for recreational purposes as reported by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Every state in the below list had authorized cannabis use for medical purposes before the full legalization. 

    • Colorado: Legalized in 2012. Adults can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and can grow six plants at home
    • Washington: Legalized in 2012. Adults can purchase 1 ounce and can buy 16 ounces of infused marijuana, 72 ounces in liquid form and 7 grams of marijuana concentrates
    • Alaska: Legalized in 2014. 
    • Oregon: Legalized in 2014. Allows to keep 8 ounces and four plants at home, they can have 1 ounce in public.
    • California: Legalized in 2016. Allows to keep 1 ounce, 8 grams of concentrated cannabis, and 6 plants at home
    • Maine: Legalized in 2016. Allows 2.5 ounces, 6 flowering marijuana plants, 12 immature and unlimited seedlings
    • Massachusetts: Legalized in 2016. Allows 10 ounces, 6 plants at home.
    • Nevada: Legalized in 2016. Allows 1 ounce and 6 plants at home.
  • Vermont: The first state to legalize marijuana in January 2018 through its Legislature instead of a ballot measure. Allows 1 ounce and 2 mature and 4 immature plants
  • Michigan: Legalized in 2018. Allows 2.5 ounces and 12 plants at home. Since 2020, the State has operational retailers where customers can buy cannabis for recreational use and provisional centers for medicinal uses.
  • Illinois: Legalized in June 2019. Allows possession of 30 grams of cannabis flower and 5 grams in concentrated form.
  • New Jersey, Montana, Arizona: States that legalized marijuana use in 2020: 
  • New York, Virginia, New Mexico, Connecticut: States that legalized in 2021


Marijuana legalization has garnered strong public support in recent years. Manufacturers are bound to follow regulations but it is creating an issue for the consumers who want marijuana dispensaries for recreational use. Marijuana has already been legalized for recreational use in 18 states, with the majority of states allowing it for therapeutic use. If you want more latest or updated information about the legality of marijuana in the United States, you should visit the websites of authorities.

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