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Marijuana Laws by State

Closeup of a cannabis (or "marijuana") flower with purple leaves.

State laws are constantly changing, and that is especially true with laws pertaining to the cultivation, sale, and use of marijuana (a slang term for cannabis). Marijuana laws by state are all over the map, so to speak. It’s fully legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia, and fully illegal in at least 6 states, with its status ranging between the two extremes in the remaining states.

If you’re curious about cannabis laws by state, check out the chart below for a simplified answer to whether medical use, recreational use, or both are legal in your state.

Recreational vs. Medical Marijuana Use

Every state that has legalized recreational use has also legalized medical use. Medical marijuana is used to treat qualifying health conditions — most commonly for treating pain and discomfort, but also glaucoma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). State regulations vary widely on how medical marijuana can be produced, dispensed, and consumed; and what conditions qualify for a medical marijuana card.

State laws spell out all the details around medical marijuana, including the daily amount to which a patient is entitled, what form the marijuana can take, and whether the state allows home cultivation. For example, in California, medical marijuana can be produced in almost any form and users can grow it at home at a greater volume than for recreational use. On the other hand, in Alabama, medical marijuana must be consumed in a certain form (e.g., not in a flower or edible form) and does not allow users to grow their own.

Marijuana Law Terminology

Rather than “get into the weeds” of marijuana laws by state, the chart below simply notes whether medical and recreational use are legal, illegal, decriminalized, or (in the case of medical use) whether only cannabidiol (CBD) oil is legal. We have linked to state-specific information from the Marijuana Policy Project in the first column of the table.


The term “legal” means there are no criminal penalties associated with the use of marijuana or derived products. Each state has its own interpretation of whether that includes marijuana paraphernalia, cultivation, or sale.

Every state with some form of legal marijuana use has its own licensing and taxation system for businesses that want to grow, sell, or finance it. Though use and retail sales may be legal, there may still be a lot of compliance hoops to jump through before a business can operate. Businesses must comply with regular licensing and taxation in addition to the more stringent rules related to marijuana. Legalization is not a free-for-all: The District of Columbia, for example, limits the number of dispensaries that can operate at one time.


The term “illegal” means the use of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor or felony in the state. It is common to differentiate between states where use is considered a misdemeanor and where it is considered a felony. For our purposes, even where the status of the use has been lowered to a misdemeanor, it is still considered illegal.


“Decriminalized” does not mean ‘legalized’ — it only means there are no criminal penalties for engaging in the decriminalized behavior, and that the sale and cultivation of cannabis remain illegal. There may still be consequences similar to a traffic violation, like fines. It could also mean only the first offense is decriminalized, with criminal penalties established for later offenses.

CBD Only

In some states, only CBD oil — which is derived from the cannabis plant but without the psychoactive properties of THC in marijuana — has been cleared for medical use. Those states still may have limits on the percentage of THC allowable in the legal CBD oil, or other conditions. In states where medical use of marijuana is legal, CBD is included.

Marijuana Laws by State


Medical Use

Recreational Use

Alabama Legal Illegal
Alaska Legal Legal
Arizona Legal Legal
Arkansas Legal Illegal
California Legal Legal
Colorado Legal Legal
Connecticut Legal Legal
Delaware Legal Decriminalized
District of Columbia Legal Legal
Florida Legal Illegal
Georgia CBD only Illegal, except certain cities
Hawaii Legal Decriminalized
Idaho CBD only Illegal
Illinois Legal Legal
Indiana CBD only Illegal
Iowa Limited Illegal
Kansas CBD only Illegal
Kentucky CBD only Illegal
Louisiana Legal Decriminalized up to 14g
Maine Legal Legal
Maryland Legal Decriminalized up to 10g
Massachusetts Legal Legal
Michigan Legal Legal
Minnesota Legal Decriminalized
Mississippi Legal Decriminalized
Missouri Legal Decriminalized
Montana Legal Legal
Nebraska Illegal Decriminalized
Nevada Legal Legal
New Hampshire Legal Decriminalized
New Jersey Legal Legal
New Mexico Legal Legal
New York Legal Legal
North Carolina CBD only Decriminalized up to 42g
North Dakota Legal Decriminalized up to 14g
Ohio Legal Decriminalized
Oklahoma Legal Illegal
Oregon Legal Legal
Pennsylvania Legal Illegal; decriminalized in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
Rhode Island Legal Legal up to 28g
South Carolina CBD only Illegal
South Dakota Legal Illegal
Tennessee CBD only Illegal
Texas CBD only Illegal
Utah Legal Illegal
Vermont Legal Legal
Virginia Legal Legal
Washington Legal Legal
West Virginia Legal Illegal
Wisconsin CBD only Illegal
Wyoming CBD only Illegal

Need Guidance on a Marijuana-Related Issue?

Remember, when it comes to marijuana, laws by state can change rapidly. It’s a good idea to consult a legal professional for any marijuana-related legal questions.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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