What is the legal process to marijuana

Recreational Marijuana Use

Washington D.C. and 10 other states currently have the most “open” laws for recreational marijuana and THC usage, with Michigan being the most recent to adopt looser legislation.

These include:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington

For the most part, in these states, individuals over the age of 21 are permitted to purchase and/or possess marijuana for recreational use. Occasionally, adults may even be able to grow a specific number of plants for personal use (click on an individual state in the map above for more detail).

Thirty-three (33) other states allow for medical marijuana use (see below) – with a doctor’s prescription – under a very specific set of circumstances. These states may allow for the treatment of specific conditions (which vary from one state or another), for treatment in medical trials, or for the purchase of cannabis-infused products only, not marijuana itself.

In other areas of the country, certain states have taken steps to decriminalize the possession of a certain amount of marijuana, to introduce legislation that may legalize marijuana in the future, or, law enforcement has become more “lax” in dealing with first-time offenders.

Medical Marijuana Use

States that allow for the medical use of marijuana, or for the treatment of specific medical conditions include:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Lousiana
  • 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
  • Washington D.C.
  • West Virginia


States where Marijuana Use is Still Completely Illegal

In some parts of the country, all recreational and medical cannabis is still illegal. These specific states include:

  • Alabama
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennesee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

While CBD oil – with specific restrictions (see our CBD legal piece), may be legal in a few of these states and is completely legal on a federal level under the 2018 Farm Bill, it’s important to understand the entire law before taking a risk or traveling to a given area with any form of the cannabis plant (including CBD products, low-THC products, or even prescription products approved by the FDA) – derived from either hemp or marijuana. Because some states also ban CBD containing any THC content (like Texas), gathering as much research as possible is critical.

Clearly: medical marijuana laws and cannabis laws are complex, complicated and changing constantly. It doesn’t help that DEA enforcement, federal law, FDA approved products and regulations often seem to conflict!