39 States Where Weed Is Legal (2021 Guide)

Posted by Halina Reagan on

Meet the 39 states where weed is legal. In the past decade, legal weed had made leaps and bounds of progress from coast to coast. Today, over half of Americans live in states with legal weedthough, legislation differs far and wide. In other words, some states only consider medical weed "legal;" Others have only legalized certain forms of weed.

For most people, the question is: How many states have legalized weed for recreational uses? And, if your state hasn't, how likely is it that it does? 

Here's what you need to know about states with legal weed in 2020.

How Many States Have Legalized Weed in Any Form?

As of 2021, 39 states and the District of Columbia have some form of legal weed, including recreational and medical, a defining moment in cannabis history. However, what "legal" means varies significantly between states and even towns and districts within those states. 

To date, 11 states have no form of medical cannabis nor recreational use laws in place. Some of these have passed decriminalization measures, which we'll go over later.

Which State Legalized Weed First?

Washington and Colorado first legalized recreational use in 2012. Oregon was the first state to decriminalize the plant in 1973. In 1996, California became the first to legalize medical use.

states where weed is legal

39 States Where Weed Is Legal

Today, 39 states and Washington D.C. have legalized weed for recreational and medical use. Here's a complete list of what is legal where.

STATE  MEDICAL RECREATIONAL
ALASKA
Yes
YES
Arizona Yes No
Arkansas Yes No
CALIFORNIA
Yes
YES
Delaware Yes No
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Yes
YES
Florida Yes No
Georgia Medical CBD Only No
Hawaii Yes No
ILLINOIS
Yes
YES
Indiana Medical CBD Only No
Iowa Medical CBD Only
No
Kentucky Medical CBD Only No
Louisiana Yes No
MAINE
Yes
YES
Maryland Yes No
MASSACHUSETTS
Yes
YES
MICHIGAN
Yes
YES
Minnesota Yes No
Missouri Yes No
Montana Yes No
NEVADA
Yes
YES
New Hampshire Yes No
NEW JERSEY
Yes
YES
New Mexico Yes No
New York Yes No
NORTH DAKOTA
Yes
YES
Ohio Yes No
Oklahoma Yes No
OREGON
Yes
YES
Pennsylvania Yes No
Rhode Island Yes No
Texas Medical CBD only No
Utah Yes No
VERMONT
Yes
YES
WASHINGTON
Yes
YES
West Virginia Yes No


How Many States Have Legal Recreational Weed?

To date, 11 states have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Each has its own guidelines for legal quantities, at-home grow operations, and carrying limits.

Which States Have Recreational Weed?

STATE YEAR LEGALIZED AT-HOME CULTIVATION DRY HERB POSSESSION CONCENTRATE POSSESSION EDIBLES POSSESSION
CALIFORNIA 2016

6 plants per person

1 ounce 8 grams Not specified
COLORADO 2012 Up to 6 plants (3 flowering) per person  1 ounce 8 grams 800mg
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 2014 Up to 6 plants 2 ounces illegal illegal
ILLINOIS 2020 Illegal for recreational users 30 grams for state resident and 15 grams for out-of-state 5 grams for state resident and 2.5 grams for out-of-state 800mg for state resident and 250mg for out of state
MAINE 2016 Up to 6 flowering plants 2.5 ounces 5 grams Not specified
MASSACHUSETTS 2016 Up to 6 plants per person and 12 per household 1 ounce away from home and 10 ounces at home 5 grams Not specified
MICHIGAN 2018 Up to 12 plants 2.5 ounces away from home and 10 ounces at home 15 grams Not specified
NEVADA 2016 Up to 6 plants if over 25 miles from a dispensary and 12 per household 1 ounce 3.5 grams 1 ounce
OREGON 2014 Up to 4 plants per household 1 ounce away from home and 8 ounces at home 1 ounce 16 ounces
VERMONT 2018 Up to 9 plants with 2 flowering 1 ounce 5 grams Not specified
WASHINGTON 2012 Illegal for recreational users 1 ounce 7 grams 16 ounces

 

See state websites for up-to-date regulation changes.

There Are Two Types of Legalization

Not all legalization initiatives are the same. Most legislation can be placed in one of two categories: 

Which States Haven't?

Twenty-two states have yet to decriminalize cannabis. You'll notice that some of these states have legalized medical weed, though still have strict laws around recreational use. Certain states on this list have only legalized medical CBD oil, meaning that cannabis, which contains more than 0.3% THC by definition, is not legal for medical use or safe from prosecution.

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. Georgia (only CBD oil is legal for medical use)
  5. Idaho
  6. Indiana (only CBD oil is legal for medical use)
  7. Iowa (only CBD oil is legal for medical use)
  8. Kansas
  9. Kentucky (only CBD oil is legal for medical use)
  10. Louisiana
  11. Montana
  12. New Jersey
  13. Oklahoma
  14. Pennsylvania
  15. South Carolina
  16. South Dakota
  17. Tennessee
  18. Texas (only CBD oil is legal for medical use)
  19. Utah
  20. West Virginia
  21. Wisconsin
  22. Wyoming

11 States with the Strictest Weed Laws

The following 11 states have yet to legalize medical cannabis. Many have yet to decriminalize the herb, meaning that possession of a recreational quantity may still result in jail time.

  1. Alabama
  2. Idaho
  3. Kansas
  4. Mississippi
  5. Nebraska
  6. North Carolina
  7. South Carolina
  8. South Dakota
  9. Tennessee
  10. Wisconsin
  11. Wyoming

Who Will Legalizer Weed Next?

It's hard to say, but today, the vast majority of Americans have access to some form of legal cannabis.

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