Humans have been cultivating and using cannabis for both recreational and medicinal uses for millennia, and that’s a well-known fact. Aside from the time when the use of marijuana became illegal in most parts of the world, humans have been using marijuana for longer than it was ever illegal.
The war on drugs had been going on for quite some time, but luckily, in the last decade or so, the marijuana laws have started to change. With the gradual legalization of marijuana in more states in the U.S. and countries around the world, the cannabis industry has started to bloom and marijuana sales have risen significantly.
However, in some states, recreational marijuana remains illegal, despite medical marijuana being legal for years now. In other states, on the other hand, possession of marijuana is altogether illegal and punishable by law. Therefore, in this article, we’ll review the current legal situation of marijuana and we’ll talk about which states may be on their way to the legalization of recreational and medical cannabis.
The Current Legal Status of Recreational Marijuana and Medical Marijuana in the U.S.
Let’s review the current status of marijuana legalization and decriminalization for both medical and recreational use.
In the following states, both medical and recreational use of marijuana is fully illegal, meaning that marijuana possession is also not decriminalized. So far, it seems like none of the following states are on the road to legalization in the near future, but some of them have approved the use of THC-free CBD oil for limited medical purposes.
- Alabama – Recreational use of marijuana is illegal and first-time possession is treated as a misdemeanor. However, further possession of weed for personal use is a felony. As far as medical cannabis goes, CBD oil with less than 0.3% THC can be used with a doctor’s recommendation strictly for the treatment of seizures.
- Idaho – Possession of up to 85 g of weed is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, or up to 1 year in prison. Recreational use of marijuana is illegal, while medical cannabis is only legal in the form of CBD oil with 0% THC.
- Kansas – Similarly, CBD products with 0% THC are legal in Kansas for any use, but they can’t be vaped or smoked. Recreational use of marijuana is illegal and possession is a misdemeanor punishable with a fine, or up to 6 months in prison.
- Nebraska – Possession of up to 28 g marijuana is fined for a first offense with mandatory drug education. Second or third offenses are more severe, involving paying a higher fine and spending up to a week in prison.
- South Carolina – Possession of marijuana is treated as a misdemeanor, while the medical use of CBD oil with less than 0.9% THC is only legal for some medical conditions.
- Tennessee – Less than 15 g of marijuana in possession is considered a first offense misdemeanor and it’s punished by a year of supervised probation. CBD oil with less than 0.9% is allowed only to treat seizures.
- Wyoming – Possession of marijuana for recreational purposes is treated as a misdemeanor. Medical marijuana is also illegal, but non-psychoactive CBD oil can only be used to treat seizures.
Some states in the U.S. only allow the use of medical marijuana in its various forms and even have medical cannabis programs developed where you can apply to use a medical marijuana card if you have any of the qualifying conditions. Of course, in these states, there are licensed medical marijuana dispensaries where you can go and buy your product with the document from your doctor. Needless to say, adult-use cannabis in these states is illegal.
Medical Marijuana Only
In the following states, the use of medical marijuana in its many forms (edibles, capsules, extracts, vapes, etc) is legal.
- Arkansas – While recreational use of marijuana is illegal and possession of under 85 g of marijuana is a misdemeanor, medical marijuana has been fully legal since 2016.
- Florida – Possession of under 20 g of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to one year in prison. The use of medical marijuana, however, was legalized in 2017.
- Louisiana – Medical marijuana was legalized in 2015 and can be used in many forms, but recreational cannabis remains illegal.
- Oklahoma – The use of medical marijuana has been legal since 2018, while adult-use cannabis is still illegal.
- Pennsylvania – The use of medical marijuana is allowed and it was legalized in 2016. Possession of under 30 g for recreational purposes is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to a month in prison.
- Utah – Similarly, possession of up to 28 g marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and 6 months in prison, but the use of medical cannabis is fully legal.
- West Virginia – Adult-use cannabis is illegal and considered a misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in prison for a first offense. However, medical marijuana is legal in this state.
CBD Oil Only
Out of many medical cannabis products, some states only allow the use of CBD oil for medical purposes.
- Georgia – Adult-use cannabis is illegal, but it’s decriminalized in some cities, namely, Clarkston, South Fulton, Forest Park, Kingsland, Statesboro, Macon-Bibb County, and Chamblee. Possession of up to 28 g is considered a misdemeanor and fined or punished by up to a year in prison, while medical use of CBD oil with no more than 5% THC is legal.
- Indiana – Marijuana possession is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to 6 months in prison. CBD oil with up to 0.3% THC is legal for any use.
- Iowa – Recreational marijuana is illegal, but CBD oil with less than 0.3% is fully legal.
- Kentucky – Possession of up to 230 g of marijuana is a misdemeanor, but the use of any type of CBD oil is legal.
- North Carolina – Possession of up to 42 g is decriminalized and fined for a misdemeanor. CBD oil with less than 0.3% THC is legal for medicinal purposes.
- Texas – Recreational use is illegal and possession of up to 57 g is a misdemeanor, but CBD oil with less than 0.5% THC and at least 10% CBD is fully legal.
- Virginia – Adult-use cannabis is decriminalized and fined for possession of up to 28 g. The use of CBD oil with up to 5% THC is legal.
- Wisconsin – Recreational marijuana is considered a misdemeanor on the first offense, but a felony for succeeding offenses. CBD oil with low THC levels, though, is legal.
In the following states, the use of recreational marijuana has been decriminalized, meaning that marijuana possession in small amounts won’t result in paying any penalties or spending time in prison. In these states, the use of medical marijuana in its many forms is legal and there are medical marijuana programs where patients can obtain their cards and get treated.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
In the following states, the use of both medical and recreational marijuana is fully legal. Here you’ll find licensed retail sales and dispensaries where they sell cannabis products. Growers are also allowed to cultivate marijuana in limited amounts at home, while in some states only licensed growers can grow cannabis.
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- South Dakota
Bottom Line – Marijuana Legalization Has Been a Long Process, but It’s Okay
The road towards the legalization of marijuana has been long but it may have been worth it. Cultivators have learned a lot about growing marijuana allowing them to use the full genetic potential of plants and create high-quality strains. The only downside is that cannabis was understudied for so long just because of the legal regulations, but now we seem to be slowly returning to a state of equilibrium.