Marijuana Laws By State 2019

Marijuana, as known as weed, pot, bud, ganja, Mary Jane and several other slang terms, is a greenish-gray mixture of dried Cannabis flowers. Cannabis is a psychoactive drug that can be used for recreational or medicinal purposes. Twenty years ago, marijuana was illegal in all 50 states; however, today, 33 states have legislation allowing for marijuana use in some form.

In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, legalizing medical marijuana. California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Within the following four years, several other states followed by passing their own medical marijuana legislation, including Alaska, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Colorado, Hawaii, and Nevada. Since then, more states have gradually voted to pass legislation allowing for medical marijuana use.

In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Since then, nine states have followed by legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The 11 states (and Washington D.C.) where recreational and medical marijuana are legal are:

  1. Alaska
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. District of Columbia
  5. Illinois
  6. Maine
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Nevada
  9. Oregon
  10. Vermont
  11. Washington
  12. Wisconsin

While recreational marijuana is legal in Vermont and Washington D.C., both jurisdictions have barred sales for recreation purposes but allow possessing and growing.

The following 22 states have legalized medical marijuana only:

  1. Arizona
  2. Arkansas
  3. Connecticut
  4. Delaware
  5. Florida
  6. Hawaii
  7. Louisiana
  8. Maryland
  9. Minnesota
  10. Missouri
  11. Montana
  12. New Hampshire
  13. New Jersey
  14. New Mexico
  15. New York
  16. North Dakota
  17. Ohio
  18. Oklahoma
  19. Pennsylvania
  20. Rhode Island
  21. Utah
  22. West Virginia

Each state has strict regulations regarding their marijuana laws for both medical and recreational use. Medical marijuana users must see a marijuana doctor to be approved for and obtain a medical marijuana card, which requires follow-up appointments and annual renewal. One must be at least 21 years old to purchase recreational marijuana. Most states require that marijuana only be sold from dispensaries, which are heavily regulated. The amount of marijuana that one can buy, possess and grow is also restricted and varies by state. For example, California allows users to buy up to eight grams of concentrates and can have no more than six marijuana plants.

Because marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, it is automatically illegal in all states unless legislation has previously passed.

Below is a table of each state’s legality regarding marijuana.

State 2019 Pop. Legal Status Medicinal Decriminalized State Laws
Alabama4,898,246Fully IllegalNoNoAlabama
Alaska735,720Fully LegalYesYesAlaska
California39,747,267Fully LegalYesYesCalifornia
Colorado5,770,545Fully LegalYesYesColorado
District of Columbia711,571Fully LegalYesYesDistrict of Columbia
Idaho1,790,182Fully IllegalNoNoIdaho
Kansas2,910,931Fully IllegalNoNoKansas
Kentucky4,484,047Fully IllegalNoNoKentucky
Maine1,342,097Fully LegalYesYesMaine
Massachusetts6,939,373Fully LegalYesYesMassachusetts
Michigan10,020,472Fully LegalYesYesMichigan
Mississippi2,987,895Fully IllegalNoNoMississippi
Nebraska1,940,919Fully IllegalNoNoNebraska
Nevada3,087,025Fully LegalYesYesNevada
New Hampshire1,363,852MixedYesNoNew Hampshire
New Jersey8,922,547MixedYesNoNew Jersey
New Mexico2,096,034MixedYesNoNew Mexico
New York19,491,339MixedYesNoNew York
North Carolina10,497,741Fully IllegalNoNoNorth Carolina
North Dakota760,900MixedYesNoNorth Dakota
Oregon4,245,901Fully LegalYesYesOregon
Rhode Island1,056,738MixedYesNoRhode Island
South Carolina5,147,111Fully IllegalNoNoSouth Carolina
South Dakota892,631Fully IllegalNoNoSouth Dakota
Tennessee6,833,793Fully IllegalNoNoTennessee
Vermont627,180Fully LegalYesYesVermont
Washington7,666,343Fully LegalYesYesWashington
West Virginia1,791,951MixedYesNoWest Virginia
Wisconsin5,832,661Fully IllegalNoNoWisconsin
Wyoming572,381Fully IllegalNoNoWyoming