If you’re staying up to date on the cannabis legalization movement, you may be wondering where cannabis is legal in the US and what the laws in each state might be. As of right now, 47 of the 50 United States have legalized cannabis in some form. The issue is that every state has different laws and levels of legalization. For example, Alabama and Georgia are technically states with legal medical marijuana, though getting caught with cannabis can still lead to a felony. On the other hand, states like California and Colorado offer hundreds of different dispensaries and products.

Here’s everything you need to know about the states with legal cannabis. Just be sure to brush up on your local and state laws to avoid any possible legal trouble.

Photo by GRAS GRÜN on Unsplash

States With Medical Marijuana

Most of the United States are on board with medical marijuana. However, every state’s laws are vastly different. Some states only have limited medical cannabis programs available for compassionate care, like people with debilitating conditions or people with terminal illnesses. These low-THC or CBD-only medical marijuana programs are the only legal form of medical marijuana in 15 of the 47 states with a medical marijuana program.

Low-THC Medical Marijuana:

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

All states with medical marijuana:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

States With Recreational Marijuana

As of 2020, there are 11 states that allow for dully recreational marijuana sales. While there are many on the list with intent to go rec, we’ll have to wait and see what comes next for cannabis legalization in the US. The 11 states that allow for recreational cannabis include:

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

States Where Marijuana is Decriminalized

According to NORML, decriminalization usually means that you won’t be arrested or serve prison time, or have a criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption. There are currently 24 states (and Washington DC) that have decriminalized cannabis in some way. More than half of the united states have decriminalized cannabis as of 2020. Those states include:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

States Where Marijuana Is Completely Illegal

There are currently three states that don’t have any type of cannabis program. Marijuana is strictly prohibited in these states, and heavy fines or jail time can incur if you’re caught with cannabis.

  • Idaho
  • South Dakota
  • Nebraska

Final Thoughts

While there are plenty of cannabis-friendly states in the US, each state tried to redesign the wheel for their marijuana programs. Each state has vastly different laws when it comes to cannabis. Regardless of legal status, it’s important to know the laws in your state in terms of possession amounts, whether you can transport it, who’s allowed to use it, and whether or not you can cultivate it yourself. Be sure to check out NORML for state-by-state information on cannabis laws so you can protect yourself from persecution.