Cannabis Regulations by State
With many touting its therapeutic benefits, like aiding in controlling chronic pain, depression, anxiety, addiction, PTSD, epilepsy, and more, cannabis continues to be a major point of conversation on a global scale. This has made many states revisit their laws with regard to cannabis, with legislators constantly having to answer questions about the plant’s consumption in their state.
Despite being federally illegal, cannabis is a state issue, giving each state the freedom to create its own laws. It can be confusing when trying to figure out the laws in your state, especially when they’re changing so frequently. Cannabis legalization is becoming extremely widespread, so if you are confused as to what the rules and regulations are in your area, feel free to refer to the list below outlining cannabis regulations by state.
Medical marijuana usage was authorized in 2021, and residents of Alabama are now permitted to utilize medical marijuana products to treat sixteen qualified medical illnesses. Currently, marijuana for recreational use is not yet allowed. Possession of small quantities of cannabis for the first time is a misdemeanor.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-alabama/
Alaska permits the use of cannabis for both medical and recreational uses. Individuals 21 years of age or older are permitted to possess up to an ounce of cannabis for personal use. Recreational stores opened in 2016, and with appropriate licensing, on-site consumption became permitted in 2019.
Find more information here: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/director/pages/marijuana/law.aspx
Cannabis in Arizona is legal for both medicinal and recreational use. As of November 3rd, 2020, possession and cultivation of recreational cannabis became legal. Anyone who is over 21 years of age is allowed to legally have an ounce of marijuana.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-arizona/
Arkansas is another state that allows medicinal use of cannabis, but not adult recreational use. Possessing cannabis without a medical card will result in fines and jail time, depending on how much is possessed.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/arkansas-penalties
California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis in 1996, but has since made massive progress for adult recreational use. In 2016, it became legal to consume and possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower, and up to eight grams of cannabis concentrate. Consumers are also allowed to grow plants, but are not allowed to drive under the influence or consume it on federal land.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/california-penalties
Much like California, Colorado was one of the first two states to fully legalize cannabis in 2012. Although some counties have more restrictive laws, adults over the age of 21 can consume and possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower or concentrate.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/colorado-penalties
The 17th state to have an effective medical marijuana law is Connecticut. Residents with specific conditions can qualify for medical cannabis. In addition, people 21 years of age or older are permitted to possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana as of July 1, 2021.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-connecticut
As of May 2011, individuals aged 18 and older who suffer from certain severe or debilitating diseases were permitted to consume and possess up to six ounces of cannabis. Cannabis is banned for recreational use in Delaware, however possession of minor quantities is decriminalized.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/delaware-penalties
District of Columbia
Cannabis is fully legal in the District of Columbia, both adult recreational use and medical consumption. With no consumption allowed in public places, consumers over the age of 21 can possess up to two ounces, transfer up to one ounce and cultivate up to six plants.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/district-of-columbia-penalties
In 2016, Florida’s legislature passed a bill that made cannabis legal for medicinal consumption. With a valid recommendation from a physician, consumers are allowed a 70-day supply of cannabis with two refills and are not allowed to grow their own plants. While cannabis is medically legal in Florida, it remains criminalized for adult recreational use even in small amounts (less than 20 grams).
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-florida
Though Georgians with specific medical illnesses have been able to use cannabis oil to relieve their symptoms for the last six years, the state has now authorized companies to produce and distribute medicinal marijuana oil in the state beginning in August 2021. Furthermore, legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use is still pending.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/georgia-penalties
Signed in 2000, those living in Hawaii are allowed to use cannabis medically, but not recreationally. Patients with a qualifying illness who have a state-issued medicinal marijuana card may use up to four ounces of cannabis. Possession of 3 grams of cannabis is decriminalized.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/hawaii-penalties
Illinois allows both medicinal and recreational cannabis legally. Illinois became the eleventh state to legalize recreational marijuana on January 1, 2020. Residents aged 21 or older are allowed to purchase up to 30 grams of marijuana and non-residents are allowed to purchase up to 15 grams.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-illinois/
Despite not allowing smokable cannabis in Louisiana, medical consumption through non-smoking techniques is allowed. Consumers are allowed a 30-day supply. Any registered physician in good standing may treat patients with medical cannabis, albeit only nine pharmacies are approved to dispense it in the state.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/louisiana-penalties-2
Cannabis is authorized for both medicinal and recreational use in Maine. Patients and caregivers who meet the criteria may possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Recreational users may possess, transport, use, and gift up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and up to 5 grams of concentrate.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-maine/
In Maryland, cannabis is authorized for medicinal purposes but prohibited for recreational use, however possession of up to 10 grams is decriminalized. With a recommendation from a doctor, patients are allowed to possess a 30-day supply — defined by the state. Patients are not allowed to cultivate cannabis or drive under the influence.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-maryland/
Originally passed for medical consumption, Massachusetts has passed a law allowing cannabis consumption recreationally. Patients are allowed up to one ounce or five grams of concentrate. Consumers will not be allowed to drive under the influence or consume in public, but will be allowed to grow up to six plants in their homes.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/massachusetts-penalties-2
Michigan became the first state in the Midwest to allow cannabis consumption for recreational use. Passed in 2018, sales started in 2020 and allow people to possess up to 2.5 ounces away from home and ten ounces at home. It is allowed to grow up to 12 plants for personal use.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/michigan-penalties-2
Although cannabis is allowed medically in Minnesota and is decriminalized, residents are not allowed to consume cannabis without a medical card. Possession of fewer than 42.5 grams will bring a minimum fine of $200. Like all states, driving under the influence is prohibited.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-minnesota/
Cannabis for recreational consumption is not currently permitted, but the drug is decriminalized, which means no jail time for first offenses. Despite allowing medical consumption, the state only allows high-CBD, low-THC items. Residents need to be approved by a doctor first.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/mississippi-penalties-2
Missouri follows similar laws to Mississippi, in that they don’t allow adult recreational use, but do have a medical marijuana program. Unlike Mississippi, Missouri does allow the high-THC products, but residents will need a physician’s recommendation in order to get a card. If caught consuming cannabis under the age of 21, the state will suspend your driver’s license.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/missouri-penalties-2
Montana originally passed cannabis for medical purposes. Montana voters passed Initiative 190, which allows marijuana use, production and sale by adults. I-190 allows possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivation of up to four mature plants for personal use.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/montana-penalties-2
Residents in Nevada are not only allowed to consume cannabis medically, but also recreationally. Nevada allows up to one ounce of cannabis and up to 3.5 grams of concentrate. The state currently has 52 of the 66 allowed storefront dispensaries. Cannabis is decriminalized in the state.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/nevada-penalties-2
Those with qualifying conditions looking to consume cannabis for medical reasons are allowed in New Hampshire. Patient possession limit is two ounces. Although New Hampshire hasn’t passed adult recreational use, there are several bills in line that could allow cultivation for medical patients and clear past criminal and court records.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/new-hampshire-penalties-2
Previously, New Jersey was a medical-only state but in February 2021, the state legislature and later Governor Phil Murphy approved a series of bills legalizing and regulating the use, possession and sale of recreational cannabis. Adults aged 21 and above are permitted to purchase and possess up to 6 ounces of cannabis.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-new-jersey/
New Mexico allows both medicinal and recreational cannabis. Adults are allowed to purchase and possess up to two ounces of cannabis and/or up to 16 grams of cannabis extract from licensed retailers. April 2022 is the anticipated date for retail sales to begin.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/new-mexico-penalties-2
New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational cannabis. Up to six cannabis plants at home are allowed for personal use and cannabis delivery services and social consumption sites will be allowed. Retail sales are expected by 2022.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-new-york
In North Carolina, cannabis remains banned for all purposes other than very limited therapeutic usage. Legislation is underway in North Carolina to legalize and regulate the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults. Possession of 0.5 ounces or less of cannabis is a Class 3 misdemeanor under state law.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-north-carolina/
Cannabis is authorized for medicinal purposes in North Dakota, however it is prohibited for recreational use. Patients who have a physician’s prescription are able to lawfully purchase up to three ounces of herbal medicinal cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries. Possession of small quantities of marijuana is considered a minor offense.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/north-dakota-penalties-2
Cannabis is authorized for medicinal use in Ohio, however it is forbidden for recreational purposes. Since 1975, possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana has been decriminalized across the state, with further changes adopted in many of the state’s cities. The state remains more strict than most states, but cannabis committees have been meeting often to make the program better.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-cannabis-dispensary-in-ohio/
Oklahoma legalized medical cannabis in 2018 and currently allows medical patients up to three ounces of possession on their person, six mature plants, one ounce of concentrate, 72 ounces of edibles, and eight ounces in their home. The state continues to see support grow for adult recreational use of cannabis.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/oklahoma-penalties-2
Oregon is one of the few states that offer cannabis for both medicinal and adult recreational use consumption — a list that continues to grow. Passed in 2015, consumers are allowed up to one ounce of cannabis, one ounce of concentrate, 16 ounces of edibles, 72 ounces of liquid versions, four mature plants, and ten seeds.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/oregon-penalties-2
Cannabis is prohibited for recreational use in Pennsylvania, however possession of small quantities is decriminalized in some of the state’s biggest cities. The use of marijuana for medical purposes became allowed in 2016 after a measure was enacted by the state authority.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-pennsylvania/
Although cannabis is decriminalized and allowed medically, adult-use remains illegal. The maximum amount of marijuana a patient may have is two and one-half ounces.The state is currently seeking to expand its medical program. Fines for up to an ounce of cannabis are $150 at most.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-rhode-island/
Currently, marijuana in South Carolina is illegal for recreational use. However, patients with qualifying conditions are allowed cannabis extracts containing more than 15% cannabidiol and not more than nine-tenths of 1% or less THC.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-south-carolina/
South Dakota allows medical but not recreational cannabis usage. Medical marijuana patients are allowed to have up to three ounces of cannabis in their possession. While citizens voted in November 2020 to legalize marijuana for both recreational and medical use, state authorities are attempting to block the recreational legislation in cour
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/south-dakota-penalties-2/
Utah allows cannabis consumption for medical use, but only certain illnesses like cancer and PTSD. Within 30 days, anyone with an approved prescription for medical marijuana may possess up to 112 grams. Cannabis for recreational use remains illegal, and even little quantities may result in criminal consequences.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/utah-penalties-2
Cannabis in Vermont became accessible to medical patients in 2016, with their program continuing to grow. As of 2018, the state extended the consumption of recreational cannabis to those 21 years of age or older. Individuals aged 21 and over are permitted to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and produce up to six marijuana plants privately.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/vermont-penalties-2
Cannabis is allowed in Virginia for both medicinal and recreational purposes.Virginia is the 17th state in America and the first state in the South to allow adult cannabis consumption legally. People aged 21 and over are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in public. “Adult sharing” between persons will be permitted as well.
Find more information here: https://cannaspire.com/how-to-open-a-dispensary-in-virginia/
Adult recreational users and medicinal patients are permitted to consume cannabis in Washington. The amount of cannabis that medical marijuana patients may acquire is 3 ounces, while the amount of recreational cannabis that people 21 and older can purchase is 1 ounce.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/washington-penalties-2
In 2017, the state of West Virginia made cannabis legal for medical patients. The state has yet to decriminalize cannabis, with possession viewed as a misdemeanor punishable of 90 days to six months for any amount. Driving under the influence is also prohibited.
Find more information here: https://norml.org/laws/item/west-virginia-penalties-2
For new patients and those unfamiliar with cannabis, confusion is at an all-time high because of the constantly changing legal landscape. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that these laws vary by state and aren’t regulated by the federal government, so be sure you’re aware of the laws in the state you reside in.
If you’re thinking about applying for a dispensary or cultivation license in a certain state and are unsure of the current laws, drop us a line.