Which States Have Legal Recreational Cannabis?

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have passed laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form.

The District of Columbia and 10 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — have adopted the most expansive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Another 13 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized.

But marijuana remains illegal under federal law. And although the Obama administration said it would allow state-level rules to stand without much federal interference, the Trump administration has taken a tougher line.

With the exception of Vermont, the states that have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes so far have landed on a commercialization model, where for-profit, private businesses sell the drug. State officials also enforce some limits on sales, including an age requirement (21 and older), how much a person can buy and possess at once, the packaging of the product, and taxes.

States with Legal Recreational Cannabis

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Alaska

  • legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana
  • legal to grow up to six marijuana plants per household, but only three can be mature and flowering at one time
  • possession of marijuana accessories is also legal

California

  • legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce
  • legal to grow up to six plants per household
  • legal to possess up to eight grams of concentrate

Colorado

  • legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana
  • legal to grow up to six plants per household, but only three can be mature

District of Columbia

  • legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to two ounces
  • legal to grow up to six plants per household
  • you don’t buy weed in the ‘traditional’ manner. Instead, you must purchase something else and then receive a ‘free’ marijuana product that is ‘donated’ or ‘gifted’ by the seller.

Maine

  • legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to 2.5 ounces
  • legal to grow up to three flowering plants per household and 12 immature plants
  • Maine employers are no longer permitted to test job applicants for cannabis

Massachusetts

  • legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce
  • legal to grow up to six plants per household. If the residence has more than one adult, it is possible to grow 12 plants as long as they remain obscured from public view.

Michigan

  • legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to 2.5 ounces. A maximum of 10 ounces can be kept in residences, and amounts of more than 2.5 ounces must be kept in locked containers
  • legal to grow up to 12 plants per household

Nevada

  • legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce
  • legal to grow up to six plants per household, 12 plants if there is more than one adult, but you must either own the property or have received permission from the landlord to grow
  • legal to possess one-eighth of an ounce of concentrates, and ‘gift’ up to an ounce of flower or an eighth of concentrates to an adult friend
  • you must live at least 25 miles from the nearest dispensary

Oregon

  • legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce on their person and up to eight ounces at home
  • legal to grow up to four plants per person
  • not allowed to possess more than an ounce in public

Vermont

  • legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce
  • legal to grow up to six plants per household

Washington

  • legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce, seven grams of concentrate, 72 ounces of liquid marijuana-infused product, and 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product
  • illegal to grow plants

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Marijuana prohibition began 80 years ago when the federal government banned the sale, cultivation, and use of the cannabis plant. It remains illegal at the federal level. Overturning prohibition is one of the few hot-button topics with widespread support. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 62% of Americans, including 74% of millennials, said they supported legalizing marijuana.