Where is Marijuana Legal?

Last Updated: July 2019

  • Limited medical cannabis access


Where is Marijuana Legal?


Marijuana Legalization Map: See Which States Have Legalized Marijuana

As recently as a decade ago, marijuana legalization was still considered an unthinkable topic. A lot has changed in a short amount of time. Today, 47 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana in one form or another, and 6 in 10 Americans back full marijuana legalization.

With the rapid rise in the popularity of marijuana, many people are asking the question– Where is marijuana legal? Unfortunately, the answer to that question isn’t so straightforward because marijuana laws in the United States are complex.

On the federal side, marijuana in all forms has been illegal since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. Under that federal statute, marijuana and its intoxicating compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are classified as Schedule I substances, the most tightly restricted category reserved for drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Despite marijuana remaining illegal at the federal level, over the past two and a half decades a growing number of states have passed their own policies legalizing marijuana in some capacity. Today, a majority of Americans live in states with some form of legalized marijuana access.

Conflicting state and federal marijuana laws can make it challenging to know what states have legalized marijuana and whether marijuana is legal where you live.

With this marijuana legalization map, you’ll be able to quickly see how marijuana law has rapidly changed across the U.S. over the past 20-plus years, and what the marijuana laws currently look like in your state.

How to Use the Marijuana Legalization Map

Now that you better understand the complexity of U.S. marijuana laws, let’s again take on the question– Where is marijuana legal?

Our interactive marijuana legalization map makes it easy to determine which states have legalized marijuana and at what capacity. Our color-coded system provides a visual, at-a-glance summary of marijuana legalization across the U.S. Quickly see which states have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, which permit medical marijuana only, which offer limited medical cannabis access, and which do not make marijuana legal for any purpose.

Looking for more info on marijuana states? Our interactive marijuana legalization map allows you to click on a state, revealing a pop-up window with more details about that state’s current marijuana laws. There, you’ll find information on any pending marijuana legislation, available polling data on marijuana, and any marijuana tax revenue calculations or estimates. We’ve also included each state’s rate of opioid-involved overdose deaths, as a growing body of evidence suggests that the legalization of marijuana might be associated with decreased prescription opioid use and overdose deaths.

For more in-depth information on the marijuana laws of a particular state, simply click ‘More Information’ within the pop-up window and you’ll be sent to that state’s respective law overview page. You can also search for marijuana laws by state. Simply use the drop-down menu to select the state you’d like more information on.

What States Have Legalized Marijuana for Medical Use?

While the federal government doesn’t recognize marijuana’s medical potential, 60 percent of U.S. states have laws legalizing the use of medical marijuana in 2019.

California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in defiance of federal law in 1996. Two years later, Washington State and Oregon followed suit.

Today, there are 33 states with comprehensive public medical marijuana programs in their books.

The states where medical marijuana is legal include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico have also legalized medical marijuana.

Each medical marijuana state approaches the issue differently. The conditions that qualify for medical marijuana and the amount of marijuana a patient can possess at one time vary. Some states allow patients to purchase marijuana products from dispensaries and grow their own plants at home, while others limit access to either dispensaries or home cultivation.

An additional 14 states have passed highly restrictive medical marijuana laws that offer limited medical cannabis access. The states with limited medical cannabis access include: Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas ,Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. These states currently only give patients access to cannabis products, most often in the form of cannabis oil, that are very low in THC. As of July 1, 2019, Kansas residents that have obtained a doctor’s letter can legally bring back low THC cannabis oil from states where it’s legal and administer it.

Medical marijuana legalization also has a lot of popular support, and marijuana is increasingly acknowledged for its potential therapeutic application by doctors, researchers, and lawmakers. A growing body of research supporting marijuana’s use for medical purposes and an increased demand for safer treatment alternatives will likely lead to even more states legalizing medical marijuana in the future.

What States Have Legalized Marijuana for Recreational Use?

Eleven states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana. Colorado and Washington State were the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012 after voters approved marijuana measures. Since that time, recreational marijuana legalization has expanded to more than a fifth of the nation’s states.

The states that have legalized recreational marijuana as of today include Alaska, California, Oregon, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington,

Illinois, the most recent state to pass recreational marijuana legislation, was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana sales through the state legislative process. Vermont’s legislature approved recreational marijuana legislation in 2018, but stopped short of permitting sales. All other recreational marijuana states implemented their adult use marijuana marketplaces through a voter referendum.

States Most Likely to Legalize Marijuana in the Future

After many victories for marijuana reform advocates over the past few years, several more states are poised to legalize recreational marijuana in the near future. Which are the states to legalize marijuana next?

Marijuana legislation made progress in several states recently. Both New Jersey and New York advanced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in 2019, but talks in both states fell apart and they will likely have to wait until 2020 before the issue is taken up again. In New Hampshire, a marijuana legalization bill passed the full House of Representatives in April 2019 before being put on hold in the Senate. In July 2019, New Mexico’s governor formed a working group to prepare the state to legalize recreational marijuana sometime in 2020.

In Ohio, lawmakers are working to present a recreational marijuana referendum on the November 2019 ballot, pending review by state officials. The Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative would allow adults 21 and older to buy and possess marijuana.

There are also recreational marijuana ballot initiatives expected in Arizona and Florida in 2020. Arizona voters turned down a recreational marijuana measure in 2016, but favorability toward cannabis has improved since then. Florida’s medical marijuana program has been such a success since it launched in 2017 that recreational marijuana legalization seems inevitable.

In Arkansas, a local organization is currently collecting signatures for a 2020 recreational marijuana ballot initiative, the Recreational Marijuana Amendment of 2020. There has also been progress made in Montana, where a recreational marijuana ballot initiative, the Marijuana Regulation Act, has already been submitted to state election officials for the 2020 ballot.