Where in the United States is Cannabis Legal?
If you enjoy cannabis, you may be wondering: which states have legalized cannabis for recreational use? If you’re from the Golden State, then you may take legal cannabis for granted. That’s because, luckily for Californians, cannabis has been legal for medicinal use since 1996, and for recreational use since 2016. Dispensaries are popular and thriving businesses in California, and you can even have your favorite strains delivered to your door!
Fortunately, California is not the only state where cannabis is fully legal. Numerous states have passed bills to legalize cannabis for adult (recreational) use in recent years, and even more allow its consumption for medical use. This is a very exciting time for cannabis enthusiasts! However, because cannabis is not legal at the federal level, state laws guide its consumption and sale, and these vary.
Here is a breakdown of where cannabis is fully legal for both medicinal and recreational use. This guide will be updated as needed, but it is not meant as legal advice. Be sure to check state and local laws before traveling with cannabis products.
States Where Cannabis is Legal for Both Medicinal and Recreational Use
You may be surprised to learn that cannabis is fully legal for both medicinal and recreational use in 21 states as well as Washington, D.C. The majority of these states allow retail sales at licensed dispensaries, subject to sales tax and other taxes that vary according to state and city.
Alaska – Alaska legalized medical cannabis in 1998 and moved to legalize it for recreational use and sales in 2014. It is legal for adults 21 and over to possess or give away up to an ounce and cultivate six plants for personal use, with the stipulation that only three plants can be at full maturity (able to produce flower). Public consumption is illegal.
Arizona – Arizona legalized medical cannabis in 2010, and in 2020 the state extended the law to allow for recreational use for adults 21 and over. Adults may possess one ounce, and cultivate no more than six plants for personal use. Public consumption is illegal.
California – The Golden State legalized cannabis for adults 21 and over in 2016. It is legal to possess, purchase, or gift up to an ounce of cannabis in plant form, and up to eight grams of concentrate. It is also legal to cultivate up to six plants for personal use. However, smoking/vaping or ingesting a cannabis product is illegal in public places and while driving.
Colorado – Colorado legalized cannabis for adults 21 and over in 2012. It is legal to possess or give away up to an ounce of cannabis, and/or to cultivate up to six plants for personal use. This law applies on a per-person level; therefore no more than 12 cannabis plants may be in a single residence regardless of how many individuals reside there. Public consumption is illegal.
Connecticut – Connecticut fully legalized cannabis in 2021. Adults over 21 may possess up to 1.5 ounces on their person, and up to five ounces at home. Adult use (recreational) sales began in January 2023.
Illinois – Illinois legalized cannabis in 2019. Adults over 21 may possess 30 grams of flower, and up to five grams of concentrates. Public consumption is illegal.
Maine – Maine legalized cannabis for adults over 21 in 2016. You may be in possession of 2.5 ounces, and cultivate up to six mature (flowering) plants for personal use. Dispensary sales began in Maine in October 2020.
Maryland – Maryland approved a measure to legalize cannabis in 2022, and the bill awaits the signature of the state’s governor as of April 2023. Laws and stipulations concerning the legal possession amount and the retail sale of cannabis are expected to take effect this year.
Massachusetts – Massachusetts legalized cannabis in 2016 for adults over 21, and you may be in possession of up to an ounce in public (must not be consumed in public) and ten ounces at home. Cultivating the plant for personal use is limited to six plants, or 12 per household.
Michigan – Michigan legalized cannabis in 2018, and legalized sales in 2019. Adults over 21 are permitted 2.5 ounces of flower and 15 grams of concentrate on their person. In Michigan, you may cultivate up to 12 plants for personal use.
Missouri – Missouri legalized cannabis in 2022, and adult use dispensary sales began in February 2023. Adults 21 and over may purchase up to three ounces of cannabis per transaction.
Montana – Montana legalized cannabis in 2020, and dispensaries opened in 2022. Adults 21 and over may possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower, eight grams of concentrate, and may cultivate eight plants per household.
Nevada – Nevada legalized cannabis in 2016, allowing it to be sold for recreational use. Adults over 21 may possess an ounce of flower and up to an eighth of an ounce in concentrated form. No more than six plants are permitted for personal cultivation, or 12 plants per household. Public consumption is illegal.
New Jersey – New Jersey legalized recreational cannabis for adults over 21 in 2020. Applications for retail sales in the Garden State began in 2022.
New Mexico – New Mexico legalized cannabis in 2021. Adults over 21 can also cultivate six plants for personal use, up to 12 per household, and may be in possession of up to two ounces outside the home.
New York – The Empire State fully legalized cannabis in 2021. Adults 21 and over may possess up to three ounces of flower and may cultivate six plants per household. Additionally, New York is the only state that permits public consumption.
Oregon – Oregon legalized cannabis for adults 21 and over in 2014. Here you can possess up to an ounce in public, and eight ounces at home. That amount is capped at 16 ounces at home if in edible form (like gummies, candies, etc), and up to 72 ounces in liquid form (tinctures). It is legal to cultivate four plants at a time for personal use. Keep in mind that it is still illegal to use in public or while operating a vehicle.
Rhode Island – Rhode Island legalized cannabis in 2021. Adults over 21 may possess no more than an ounce and may cultivate up to six plants for personal use, per household. Dispensary sales began in 2022.
Vermont – Vermont legalized cannabis in 2018 for personal use and possession. Adults over 21 can cultivate no more than two mature plants for personal use, and possess up to an ounce. Cannabis dispensaries did not become legal to operate in Vermont until 2022.
Virginia – Virginia legalized cannabis in 2021, with ongoing efforts to establish laws pertaining to licensing dispensaries. For now, adults 21 and over may possess up to an ounce, and cultivate no more than four plants for personal use.
Washington – The state of Washington legalized cannabis in 2012 with some conditions in place. While adults over 21 may purchase or otherwise possess up to an ounce of flower, 16 ounces of edibles (solid form), 72 ounces of liquid product, and seven grams of concentrate, cultivating cannabis plants at home remains illegal.
Washington, D.C. – Cannabis became legal in 2014 in D.C. However, its legality is confined to possession (up to two ounces) and gifting (up to an ounce) because recreational sales remain illegal.