Legality of cannabis by U.S. jurisdiction Article

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Map of cannabis laws in the US
Legality of cannabis in the United States
  Legal
  Legal for medical use
  Legal for medical use, limited THC content
  Prohibited for any use
  D  Decriminalized
Notes:
· Includes laws which have not yet gone into effect.
· Cannabis remains a Schedule I drug under federal law.
· Some Indian reservations have legalization policies separate from the states they are located in.
· Cannabis is illegal in all federal enclaves.

In the United States, the use and possession of cannabis is illegal under federal law for any purpose, by way of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Under the CSA, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use – thereby prohibiting even medical use of the drug. [1] At the state level, however, policies regarding the medical and recreational use of cannabis vary greatly, and in many states conflict significantly with federal law.

The medical use of cannabis is legal (with a doctor's recommendation) in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. [2] Fourteen other states have laws that limit THC content, for the purpose of allowing access to products that are rich in cannabidiol (CBD), a non- psychoactive component of cannabis. [2] Although cannabis remains a Schedule I drug, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment prohibits federal prosecution of individuals complying with state medical cannabis laws. [3]

The recreational use of cannabis is legal in 10 states ( Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington), the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Another 13 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized. [4] Commercial distribution of cannabis is allowed in all jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized, except Vermont and the District of Columbia. Prior to January 2018, the Cole Memorandum provided some protection against the enforcement of federal law in states that have legalized, but it was rescinded by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. [5]

Although the use of cannabis remains federally illegal, some of its derivative compounds have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for prescription use. Cannabinoid drugs which have received FDA approval are Marinol, Syndros, Cesamet, and Epidiolex. Cannabidiol is also sold by numerous online retailers who claim their products are derived from industrial hemp and therefore legal. [6] Although the Drug Enforcement Administration considers non-Epidiolex CBD a Schedule I drug, [7] it has so far not taken action to shut down these sales. [8]

Legend:
  Legal   Legal for medical use   Legal for medical use, limited THC content   Prohibited for any use D Decriminalized

By state

State Recreational Medical Transportation Cultivation Notes
  Alabama felony
(1st-offense possession is a misdemeanor)
non-psychoactive CBD oil not clearly stated illegal

First-time may be punished as a misdemeanor, but further possession, or intent to sell, can result in felony charges.

  Alaska legal legal up to 1 oz. (28 grams) [9] 12 plants in a household with two adults 21+, [10] or no limit with commercial license

Legalized by Measure 2 on November 4, 2014. [11]

  Arizona Illegal legal medical use only medical use only

November 2010: medical marijuana legalized when Proposition 203 passed with 50.13% of the vote. [12] [13] [14]

  Arkansas Illegal legal medical use only

Possession under three ounces a misdemeanor; Cities of Fayetteville and Eureka Springs labeled cannabis their lowest law enforcement priority. November 8, 2016: medical marijuana legalized when Issue 6 passed by 53%. [15]

  California legal legal up to 1oz. (28 grams) six plants, or commercially licensed

July 1975: Senate Bill 95 reduced the penalty for possession of one ounce (28.5 grams) or less of cannabis to a citable misdemeanor. [16]
November 1996: first state to legalize medical marijuana when Proposition 215 passed by 56%. [17]
November 2016: Proposition 64 passed by 57% to 43%, legalizing sale and distribution, effective January 1, 2018.

  Colorado legal legal up to 1 oz. (28 grams) six plants, or commercially licensed [18]

Colorado Amendment 64 legalized the sale and possession of marijuana for non-medical use on November 6, 2012, including cultivation of up to six plants with up to three mature. [19] [20] Second state to legalize recreational marijuana after Washington.

  Connecticut D decriminalized legal felony (legal for medical use) felony

Possession less than a half-ounce by those 21 or over, results in graduated fines, and confiscation. Under 21 face more sanctions, with temporary loss of drivers license. [21]

  Delaware D decriminalized (civil infraction) legal medical use only medical use only

February 10, 2012: Governor Markell suspended medical marijuana after a Justice Department letter threatened federal prosecution. On August 31, 2016, Gov. Markell signed House Bill 400, expanding medical cannabis programs for those with a terminal illness. [22] [23]

  Florida illegal legal medical use only medical use only

November 8, 2016: medical marijuana legalized as of July 1, 2017 when voters passed Amendment 2 by 71%. [24]

  Georgia illegal; decriminalized in Atlanta [25] and Savannah CBD oil less than 5% THC medical use only illegal

Possession, sale, or cultivation results in suspension of driver's license. First-time offense eligible for discharge with payment of fine and community service. April 16, 2015: CBD oil legalized for medical use. [26]

State Recreational Medical Transportation Cultivation Notes
  Hawaii illegal legal against program rules. medical use only

June 15, 2000: Governor Benjamin Cayetano signed bill legalizing medical marijuana. First state legislature to do so. [27] [28] July 14, 2015: Governor David Ige signed bill allowing medical cannabis dispensaries. [29] July 14, 2016: Governor Ige signed law expanding medical cannabis programs. [30]

  Idaho misdemeanor (85 grams/3 oz. or less) illegal not clearly stated felony

Possession of 3 ounces or less a misdemeanor up to 1 year prison or fine up to $1,000 or both. More than 3 ounces but less than 1 pound a felony up to 5 years prison or fine up to $10,000 or both. [31]

  Illinois D decriminalized (civil infraction) legal legal for medical use misdemeanor (legal for medical use)

Cannabis Control Act of 1978 allowed for medical marijuana but was never implemented. [32] [33]
August 1, 2013: Gov. Pat Quinn signed bill legalizing medical marijuana effective January 1, 2014. [34]
March 22, 2017: lawmakers proposed legalizing recreational marijuana [35] allowing possession up to 28 g and five plants.

  Indiana misdemeanor up to 6 months, $1000 fine CBD oil less than 0.3% THC, legal for any use not clearly stated illegal
  • 1913: prohibited
  Iowa illegal cannabis oil less than 3% THC not clearly stated felony
  • 2014 CBD oil legalized
  Kansas misdemeanor CBD oil containing 0% THC, legal for any use not clearly stated illegal
  • 1927: prohibited
  • 2018: CBD oil exempted from definition of marijuana. [36] [37] [38]
  Kentucky misdemeanor (less than 8 oz (230 g)) CBD oil not clearly stated misdemeanor (less than 5 plants)
  • 2014 CBD legalized
  Louisiana illegal legal medical use only illegal
  • 1924: prohibited
  • 2015: medical cannabis legalized
  Maine legal legal legal to carry up to 2.5oz. (71 grams) up to six plants, or commercially licensed
  • 1913: prohibited
  • 1976: decriminalized
  • 1999: medical cannabis [39]
  • 2009: further decriminalization [40] [41]
  • 2016: legalized recreational [42]
  Maryland D decriminalized (10g or less) legal medical use only medical use only

April 14, 2014: SB 364 decriminalized possession of 10 grams or less punishable by $100 fine for first offense, $250 fine for second offense, and $500 fine plus possible drug treatment for third offense. HB 881 legalized medical cannabis. Both laws effective October 1, 2014. [43] [44]

State Recreational Medical Transportation Cultivation Notes
  Massachusetts legal legal up to 1 oz. (28 grams) 1 oz of marijuana outside the home, 10 oz inside the home, up to six plants.
  • 2008: decriminalized cannabis by 63% vote on Question 2. One oz or less punishable by $100 fine. [45] [46]
  • 2012: medical marijuana legalized when Question 3 passed by 60%. [47] [48]
  • 2016: legalized recreational marijuana when Question 4 passed by 54%. [49]
  Michigan legal legal medical and recreational 2.5 oz of marijuana outside the home, allows 10 oz and up to 12 plants per household
  • 2008: legalized medical cannabis
  • 2018: legalized recreational cannabis
  Minnesota D decriminalized legal medical use only illegal
  • 1976: decriminalization [50]
  • 2014: medical cannabis legalized [51]
  Mississippi D decriminalized (first offense; 30 grams or less) CBD oil not clearly stated illegal
  • 1978: decriminalized
  • 2014: CBD legalized
  Missouri D decriminalized legal not clearly stated legal for medical use
  • 2014: decriminalized
  • 2014: CBD legalized
  • 2018: Missouri voters approved Amendment 2, allowing for the distribution and regulation of medical cannabis.
  Montana illegal legal medical use only medical use only

Possession 60 grams or less up to 6 months in prison and fine of $100–$500. Second offense up to 3 years in prison or fine up to $1,000 or both. More than 60 grams a felony up to 5 years in prison or fine up to $50,000 or both. Intent to distribute a felony up to 20 years in prison or fine up to $50,000 or both. [52]

  Nebraska D decriminalized (first offense only) illegal not clearly stated illegal

Possession up to one ounce fined up to $300 for first offense, with potential mandatory drug education. Second offense fine up to $500 and up to five days' jail, third offense up to $500 fine and maximum one week jail. [53]

  Nevada legal legal medical and recreational use (adults over 21) 6 plants per household

November 7, 2000: medical marijuana legalized with 65% vote on Question 9. [54] [55]
November 8, 2016: recreational marijuana legalized when Question 2 passed by 54%. [56] Home cultivation allowed if 25 miles away from store. [57]

  New Hampshire D Decriminalized (up to three-quarters of an ounce) legal medical use only medical use only

July 23, 2013: medical marijuana legalized when Governor Maggie Hassan signed HB 573. [58] [59] July 11, 2015: Governor Hassan expanded medical marijuana law. [60] July 18, 2017: Governor Chris Sununu signed bill decriminalizing up to three-quarters of an ounce.

  New Jersey illegal legal medical use only illegal

January 18, 2010: medical marijuana law signed by Governor Jon Corzine. Maximum 1 year in prison and 1,000 dollar fine for possession of up to 50 grams. [61] [62] September 19, 2016: Governor Chris Christie signed Assembly Bill 457 adding PTSD as qualifying condition for medical marijuana, effective immediately. [63]

State Recreational Medical Transportation Cultivation Notes
  New Mexico illegal; decriminalized in Albuquerque. [64] legal medical use only medical use only

April 2007: medical marijuana legalized when Governor Bill Richardson signed Senate Bill 523. [65] [66]

  New York D decriminalized (unless open to public view [67]) legal medical use only misdemeanor

July 14, 2014: medical marijuana legalized when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation allowing edibles, oils, pills, and vaporization, but not smoking. [68] [69] [70]

  North Carolina D decriminalized (.5 oz or less) CBD oil illegal illegal
  • 1977: decriminalized
  • 2015: CBD legalized
   North Dakota illegal legal medical use only

November 8, 2016: legalized medical marijuana when voters passed Measure 5 by 64%. [71]

  Ohio D decriminalized (civil infraction) legal not clearly stated illegal

June 8, 2016: Governor John Kasich signed legislation legalizing medical marijuana. [72]

  Oklahoma illegal legal not clearly stated legal with medicinal license
  • 1933: criminalized [73]
  • 2015: Governor Mary Fallin signed law allowing CBD oil for children with epilepsy. [74]
  • June 26, 2018: Voters in Oklahoma approved State Question 788, legalizing medical marijuana.
  Oregon legal legal up to 1 oz., more for licensed cultivators (adults 21+) 4 plants per household

Voter approved Measure 91 November 4, 2014 provides for possession and sale of set amounts of cannabis. [75] [76] Cannabis sentencing reform signed July 1, 2015 by Governor Kate Brown. [77] [78] More medical cannabis reforms signed July 28, 2015 by Governor Brown effective October 1, 2015. [79] [80] Governor Brown signed 25% cannabis sales tax. [81]

  Pennsylvania illegal legal illegal illegal

Medical use law signed by Governor Wolf April 17, 2016. Possession of 30g or less up to 30 days in jail and fine up to $500. More than 30g a misdemeanor up to a year in jail and $5000 fine. [82]

  Rhode Island D decriminalized (civil violation) legal medical use only medical use only

Possession of an ounce $150 fine, three violations within 18 months a misdemeanor with larger fines or prison or both. [83]

  South Carolina misdemeanor [84] cannabis oil less than 0.9% THC CBD oil illegal
  • 2014: Governor Nikki Haley signed Senate Bill 1035, "Julian's Law", allowing children with severe epilepsy to be treated with CBD oil if recommended by a physician. [85]
State Recreational Medical Transportation Cultivation Notes
  South Dakota misdemeanor illegal not clearly stated illegal

Personal use of 2 oz or less a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by maximum 1 year in prison and maximum fine $2,000. [86]

  Tennessee misdemeanor (less than 1/2 ounce; first or second offense only). cannabis oil less than 0.9% THC CBD oil misdemeanor: 9 plants or less; felony: 10+ plants

First-time possession one year supervised probation instead of one year in prison; *Possession of 1/2 ounce or more for resale a felony. CBD oil possession allowed as of May 4, 2015, if suffering seizures or epilepsy with recommendation of doctor. [87]

  Texas Illegal. "Cite and Release" in Houston, Dallas, and Austin residents of Travis County CBD oil not clearly stated illegal

Dec. 2014: "possession of up to two ounces of marijuana can result in a jail sentence of up to six months and fine of up to $2,000." [88] June 1, 2015: governor Greg Abbott signed a bill legalizing CBD oil for medical use. [89]

  Utah misdemeanor legal not clearly stated illegal

HB 105 signed in 2014 allows use of low-THC cannabis oil for patients with epilepsy. [90] HB 195 signed in March 2018 allows cannabis for certain terminally ill patients. [91]

Possession up to an ounce 6-months prison and maximum fine $1,000. Over 10 ounces $10,000 fine. Selling any amount a felony with 5 years in prison and $5,000 fine. [92]

  Vermont legal (up to one ounce, no commercial sales) legal (medical sales allowed) legal two mature plants, four immature

May 19, 2004: medical marijuana legalized when Senate Bill 76 passed, [93] expanded in June 2007 by SB 7. [94]
June 6, 2013: Governor Peter Shumlin signed HB200 decriminalizing one ounce. [95] January 2018: HB511 passed, [96] [97] [98] legalizing one ounce and two plants, [99] taking effect on July 1, 2018. [100] [101] [102] First state legislature to legalize recreational marijuana. [103]

  Virginia misdemeanor cannabis oil less than 5% THC not clearly stated illegal

First offense- Unclassified Misdemeanor up to 30 days jail and $500 fine or both, and loss of driving privilege or community service. [104] 2nd offense Class 1 misdemeanor up to 12 months prison and $2,500 fine or both, plus loss of driving privileges. [105]First offense may qualify for deferred disposition & dismissal with drug assessment, classes, community service, and loss of driving privileges for six months, but does not qualify for expungement, remaining on record permanently. [106]

  Washington legal legal legal legal with restrictions and licensing

Legalized by Washington Initiative 502 in 2012, the law permits anyone over 21 to carry one ounce, and it requires licensed sellers, distributors and growers. Home growing is not allowed except for medical use. [107] First state to legalize recreational marijuana (Dec 6, 2012, by 4 days). [108]

  West Virginia misdemeanor legal not clearly stated illegal

"Compassionate Use Act for Medical Cannabis; providing for protections for the medical use of cannabis..." [109]

  Wisconsin misdemeanor on first offense, felony on subsequent offenses [110] CBD oil qualified patients may have 12 plants and three oz of leaves or flowers. [109] felony

First possession a misdemeanor fine up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to 6 months, or both. Second offense a Class I felony fine up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 3.5 years, or both.

  Wyoming misdemeanor CBD oil not clearly stated illegal

Being under the influence of marijuana is a misdemeanor up to 90 days in prison and fine up to $100. Possession three ounces or less a misdemeanor up to 1 year in prison and fine up to $1000. [111]

State Recreational Medical Transportation Cultivation Notes

Federal district

District Recreational Medical Transportation Cultivation Notes

  District of Columbia

legal (no commercial sales) [112] legal (commercial sales) legal to carry up to 2 oz. (56.7 grams) legal to grow up to six plants (only three mature at a time) for recreational purposes; no provision for commercial recreational cultivation
  • 1998: Initiative 59 was voted in to allow medical marijuana, but its effecting was blocked by Congress until 2009.
  • 2014: D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill that decriminalized possession of up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana in the U.S. capital for persons 18 years of age or older. The law made possession a civil violation with a penalty of $25, lower than most city parking tickets.
  • 2014, D.C. voted by ballot Initiative 71 to legalize marijuana possession and cultivation for personal recreational use (commercial production and sale not permitted); the law went into effect February 26, 2015 following 30 days of Congressional review. [113]
District Recreational Medical Transportation Cultivation Notes

By inhabited territory

Territory Recreational Medical Transportation Cultivation Notes
  American Samoa illegal illegal illegal illegal

In 1999, the Territory established a 5-year mandatory minimum sentence for possession of any amount of any illegal drug, to explicitly include marijuana, even when medically prescribed in another jurisdiction. [114]

  Guam illegal legal medical use only medical use only

Residents passed a ballot measure on November 4, 2014, that allows cannabis for medical use only. [115]

  Northern Mariana Islands legal legal legal legal

On September 21, 2018, Republican governor Ralph Torres signed a bill into law to legalize the recreational use of cannabis in the territory. [116] [117]

  Puerto Rico illegal legal medical use only medical use only

On May 4, 2015, the governor of Puerto Rico signed an executive order legalizing medicinal marijuana in the U.S territory. [118]

  U.S. Virgin Islands D decriminalized illegal illegal illegal
Territory Recreational Medical Transportation Cultivation Notes

By Native-American reservation

Reservation Possession Sale Transportation Cultivation Notes
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
(South Dakota)
legal [119] Legal sales since January 1, 2016 One single licensed grow site for the nation In summer 2015, the tribal authorities voted 5–1 to legalize recreational cannabis, making them the first reservation to do so following the 2013 Cole Memorandum. [119]
Suquamish Tribe
(Washington state)
legal Legal sales since December 2015 [120] [121] In September 2015, the tribe signed the nation's first tribe-state cannabis pact, under which the tribe would operate a cannabis retail store with regulations paralleling those of Washington state. [122]
Squaxin Island Tribe
(Washington state)
legal Legal sales since November 2015 [123]
Reservation Possession Sale Transportation Cultivation Notes

See also

References

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