Where Is Marijuana Legal in America?
|Where Is Marijuana Legal in America?|
South Dakota - legalization measure approved November 2020, struck down by state Supreme Court November 2021
Nearly half of adults in the U.S. say they have tried marijuana, a new survey found, the highest measured to date.
Twelve percent of adults say they currently smoke marijuana, which has remained steady in recent years since. It was initially measured at 7% in 2013, about the time a wave of states began decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana use for recreational purposes. Younger Americans are most likely to smoke marijuana, the report says, and while 20% of millennials say they currently smoke marijuana and 10% of those in Generation X say they do the same, fewer than 10% of the older generations say they do.
Hemp and marijuana are both produced from the cannabis plant, although hemp is derived from a strain that has a much lower quantity of THC, the compound that produces hallucinogenic effects. It was so important, in fact, that in 1619, Virginia passed a law requiring hemp to be grown on every farm in the colony. At the time, the crop was also considered a proper form of currency in Virginia, as well as Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Which states have legalized medical marijuana?
As of June 2022, 38 states have legalized the medical use of cannabis to varying degrees, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
In addition, the District of Columbia and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Virgin Islands have all legalized medical marijuana.
Each jurisdiction has its own criteria regarding what conditions cannabis can be prescribed for, at what amounts and what the process is for issuing medical marijuana licenses to qualified residents.
States Where Recreational Marijuana Is Legal
Colorado - legalization measure approved November 2012
Adults over the age of 21 in Coloradocan possess and give away up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants each, though residences are limited to 12 plants total no matter how many people live there. Using marijuana in public is illegal.
Retail purchases at licensed dispensaries are subject to standard sales tax, plus an additional 10% marijuana sales tax. A 15% excise tax is applied to the wholesale price of retail marijuana – that is, the price that businesses pay cultivators.
Washington - legalization measure approved November 2012
In Washington, adults over 21 can buy and possess up to an ounce of marijuana,16 ounces of marijuana-infused edibles in solid form, 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquid products,and 7 grams of marijuana concentrates. It's illegal to consume marijuana in public, and recreational users can't grow the plants at home.
Retail sales are legal at licensed dispensaries and there is a 37% excise tax on those sales.
Alaska - legalization measure approved November 2014
Alaskan adults over the age of 21 can possess and give away up to an ounce of marijuana and can grow up to six marijuana plants, though only three of those plants can be mature. It's illegal to consume the drug in public.
Retail sales are legal at licensed dispensaries. The state levies an excise tax on the drug that the cultivator is responsible for paying.
Oregon - legalization measure approved November 2014
Adults in Oregon who are over 21 years old can possess up to an ounce of marijuana if they are in public and up to 8 ounces at home. Adults can also have up to 16 ounces of a marijuana product if it is in solid form, like an edible, or up to 72 ounces of a marijuana product in liquid form. Adults can grow up to four cannabis plants. It's illegal in Oregon to use marijuana in a public place.
Marijuana retail sales are legal at licensed dispensaries and taxed at 17%, and cities and counties can add up to an additional 3% tax in some cases.
Washington, D.C. - legalization measure approved November 2014
It is legal for adults over 21 to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana and to give up to 1 ounce of marijuana to another person. Adults can also grow up to six marijuana plants, three of which can be mature.
Recreational cannabis sales are not legal in D.C., as Congressional Republicans have consistently included language in appropriations bills that prevents the District from establishing an independent regulatory board. Without licensed retailers, D.C.'s adult-use marijuana trade relies on gifting services.
California - legalization measure approved November 2016
It is legal in California for an adult over 21 to possess, purchase or give away up to an ounce of cannabis and as much as 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. Adults can also cultivate up to six live cannabis plants. Smoking or ingesting marijuana is illegal in public places, as is using the drug while in a car.
Retail sales of cannabis at licensed dispensaries are subject to standard state sales tax and an excise tax of 15%. Local governments may also enact additional taxes on cannabis businesses.
Maine - legalization measure approved November 2016
People over 21 in Maine can use and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to six flowering and 12 immature marijuana plants.
A regulated retail market became operational in October 2020, though several owners saw limited product supplies. Maine imposes a 15% excise tax and a 10% sales tax on marijuana.
Massachusetts - legalization measure approved November 2016
Adults over 21 in Massachusetts can have up to an ounce of marijuana on their person and up to 10 ounces at home. Home cultivation is also permitted: Residents can grow up to six plants per person and up to 12 plants in a household of two or more people.
Sales are legal at licensed dispensaries. Sales are subject to standard state sales tax, as well as a state excise tax of 10.75%. Towns and cities can also levy up to a 3% tax on marijuana sales.
Nevada - legalization measure approved November 2016
Nevadans over 21 can have up to an ounce of marijuana and up to an eighth of an ounce of concentrated marijuana. Adults may also grow up to six plants, or 12 plants per household. It's illegal to use marijuana in public or in a car.
Retail sales are legal at licensed dispensaries, and are subject to a 10% excise tax on top of state sales tax.
Michigan - legalization measure approved November 2018
It is legal for adults over 21 in Michigan to grow, consume and possess marijuana. The law allows individuals to grow up to 12 plants in a household, and to possess up to 2.5 ounces of the drug and 15 grams of concentrated marijuana.
The state's Marijuana Regulatory Agency began accepting applications for retail licenses in late 2019. Michigan now operates licensed retailers for recreational cannabis use, as well as provisioning centers for medical use, according to David Harns, interim communications director for Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Vermont - legalization measure approved January 2018
It is legal to grow and possess marijuana in Vermont, but not to buy or sell it – that'll change in October 2022, when retailers will start receiving licenses. Adults over 21 can have up to an ounce of marijuana and can grow two mature and four immature marijuana plants per household.
Guam - legalization measure approved April 2019
Adults over the age of 21 can possess up to an ounce of marijuana and can grow up to six plants, though no more than three can be mature.
Guam's Cannabis Control Board scrambled to establish trading guidelines earlier in 2020, but their progress was stopped at the time by the coronavirus pandemic. While sales remain illegal, adults are allowed to gift up to an ounce of cannabis.
Illinois - legalization measure approved May 2019
As of January 2020, it's legal for Illinois residents over 21 to possess 30 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of concentrated cannabis and products containing up to 500 milligrams of THC. Adults who are not Illinois residents can have half those amounts while in the state. Consumption remains illegal in public places.
Residents could initially purchase marijuana for adult use from licensed dispensaries, followed by a gradual rollout of recreational retail licenses. Sales are taxed based on how much THC the marijuana contains: Cannabis with more than 35% THC will be taxed at 25% while cannabis with less THC will be taxed at 10%. Though marijuana has become more potent over the years, it's still unusual for a strain to exceed 35% THC. Cannabis-infused products will be subject to a 20% tax. Local municipalities can also levy up to a 3% tax on sales.
New Jersey - legalization measure approved November 2020
New Jersey was among four new states to simultaneously back marijuana legalization measures on Election Day 2020. Nearly 67% of voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana. The measure outlines that only adults over the age of 21 would be able to use cannabis. It authorized the existing state commission on medical cannabis to govern the market for recreational use, and made the cannabis trade subject to state and local taxes. On Feb. 22, 2021, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation formally establishing the state's recreational marketplace, while reducing penalties for underage possession of marijuana and alcohol.
Montana - legalization measure approved November 2020
Montana's Election Day 2020 ballot featured two popular-vote measures that would regulate the use of recreational marijuana. Initiative 190 – which legalized the possession and use of limited amounts of cannabis by adults 21 and over – was approved by nearly 57% of voters, according to the Montana secretary of state. Montana Constitutional Initiative 118 – which allows the state legislature to set an age for marijuana use and consumption – passed with 58% of the vote.
South Dakota - legalization measure approved November 2020, struck down by state Supreme Court November 2021
South Dakota’s Constitutional Amendment A appeared on the 2020 ballot, passing with roughly 54% of the vote. The measure allows adults over 21 years old to possess and distribute up to 1 ounce of cannabis. A simultaneous measure to legalize medical marijuana was approved by nearly 70% of voters, according to the Sioux Falls-based Argus Leader. But in late November 2021, the state Supreme Court nullified the voter-passed amendment that would have allowed for recreational marijuana use, as reported by The Associated Press. The decision followed a lawsuit backed by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem.
Arizona - legalization measure approved November 2020
Arizona's Proposition 207 would allow limited marijuana use, possession and cultivation by adults over age 21; ban smoking it in public; establish state and local regulation of marijuana licensees; and allow marijuana offenses to be expunged. About 60% of voters supported the measure on Election Day.
New York - legalization measure approved March 2021
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act on March 31, 2021. The law allows individuals age 21 or older to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis for recreational purposes, establishes two regulatory agencies to oversee its sale and distribution, and clears the way for individuals convicted of marijuana-related offenses to have their records expunged. Democrats in the State Assembly had been introducing legalization bills since 2013, but their efforts were unsuccessful due to disagreements with Cuomo, according to the New York Times.
Virginia - legalization measure approved April 2021
On April 7, 2021, both chambers of Virginia's General Assembly passed SB1406, with amendments put forth by Gov. Ralph Northam. Since the legislature approved the governor's amendments, no further action was needed to pass the law, a staff member for Northam confirmed. The amended legislation will allow Virginians age 21 or older to possess up to 1 ounce of recreational marijuana as of July 1, 2021. While the law will also allow residents to grow up to four cannabis plants, the measure as enacted doesn't establish a framework for licensing retail sales of adult-use marijuana.
New Mexico - legalization measure approved April 2021
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed HB2 on April 12, allowing adults over age 21 to grow cannabis plants at home and possess up to two ounces outside their homes as of June 29, according to Linda Trujillo, the state's regulation and licensing superintendent. State-licensed dispensaries started selling recreational marijuana on April 1, 2022. Home growers of cannabis are able to cultivate up to six plants per person, or 12 total per household.
Connecticut - legalization measure approved June 2021
Connecticut legalized recreational cannabis on June 22, 2021, when Gov. Ned Lamont signed SB1201. When the measure takes effect on July 1, individuals aged 21 or older will be able to possess up to 1.5 ounces of recreational cannabis, in addition to another five ounces in a home or vehicle. Retail sales are not expected to begin until the summer of 2022 at the earliest, while the state sets up its retail regulations. Prior low-level marijuana offenses will also be expunged under the new law.
Rhode Island - legalization measure approved May 2022
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee signed into law on May 25, 2022, a state legislature bill that legalizes, regulates and taxes cannabis in the state. The law legalizes possession of up to an ounce of cannabis and cultivation of up to three cannabis plants in a private residence for adults 21 and older, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. It establishes a timeline to create a market to be overseen by a new regulatory commission, and as of May, sales are expected to begin by December 2022.
How do Americans feel about legal marijuana?
According to a 2021 Pew Research poll, 91% of Americans believe cannabis should be legalized to some degree -- 31% for medical use and 60% for both medical and recreational use. Only 8% of respondents said marijuana should not be legal at all.
An April 2022 CBS News/YouGov poll showed even stronger support, with 66% percent of respondents believing recreational marijuana should be legal at both the state and federal levels.
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