A Guide to the Legality of Marijuana in the United States
In 2012, Colorado became the first state in the US to legalize recreational marijuana use.
Since then, many other states have followed suit. Before and after this landmark vote, other states have passed laws regarding the use of medical marijuana products.
It’s hard to keep track of what’s legal in which states, especially since new laws are passed every year. To keep you informed, we’ve put together a quick guide of where marijuana products are legal in the US (as of January 2021).
Keep reading to learn more!
Where Are Marijuana Products Legal in the US?
Before we discuss states, let’s first be clear: Marijuana continues to be illegal federally in all 50 states. In December 2020, the House passed a historic bill to decriminalize marijuana at a federal level.
Although it remains illegal, someone cannot be prosecuted for possession under a specified amount. Full legalization would remove all legal prohibitions against marijuana products — but we’re not there yet.
However, the federal government does not interfere with individual states’ decisions to legalize marijuana. Now that this is clearer, let’s briefly consider where marijuana is legal at a state level.
1. Medical Marijuana Products
To date, 33 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana products. These include:
- Washington, D.C.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
In order to buy and use marijuana products in these states, you’ll need a prescription from a doctor. There is a range of conditions that may qualify you for medical marijuana, such as epilepsy, HIV, cancer, or PTSD.
If you live in one of these states and believe you have a medical condition that could benefit from a prescription for marijuana, talk to your doctor.
2. Recreational Marijuana Products
In the nine years since Colorado passed its landmark vote to legalize recreational marijuana, more than a dozen other states have followed suit. These include:
- Washington, D.C.
- New Jersey
- South Dakota
- Guam (US Territory)
Laws vary by location, but users are typically permitted up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use.
If you live in one of the states listed above, there are websites that help you connect to dispensaries near you and find one locally.
3. What About CBD Products?
CBD products made from hemp (a marijuana-like plant) are now legal in all 50 states. CBD contains many of the same healing properties as THC, so this could be a good option if you live in a state where marijuana products are still illegal.
However, keep in mind that some CBD products are made from marijuana instead of the hemp plant. These products will also contain the psychoactive compound THC and fall under the same legal category as other marijuana products in your state.
Before you buy any CBD product, check to see if it’s made with hemp or marijuana (and if it contains THC).
Products Made From Marijuana: Know Before You Buy
Laws regarding the legality of marijuana are changing fast, so stay informed of any updates in your state. In the meantime, if you choose to use marijuana products, make sure you’re compliant with the laws in your area!
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