Where is Marijuana Legal in The U.S.
Updated: Aug 6, 2018
It Can Be Hard to Grow Weed Illegally
People often want to know where marijuana is legal in the U.S. but don't know how to find out for themselves. This comes from the patchwork nature of cannabis laws in the States. Each state has its own rules and regulations about marijuana. Some allow everyday people to grow weed while others demand that producers and distributors obtain licenses and submit to regular inspections from local law enforcement.
The cost of obtaining these licenses and permits can be prohibitive as many municipalities actively want to minimize the impact of marijuana on their local economies. States often set minimum tax levels in the double digits and allow local governments to impose additional taxes at different points in the process.
The problem is further compounded by the fact that even in states where weed is legal, it may still be illegal to produce, distribute or otherwise buy/sell marijuana. Local municipalities in several states are able to pass their own rules and regulations above and beyond the state mandated standards.
Legal Weed is Rapidly Expanding
But there is still some hope for people looking to find states where pot is legal. As of July 2018, there are a total of 10 states/territories with legislation legalizing recreational marijuana. Colorado, Washington State, Washington D.C., Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts all allow citizens to legally grow recreational marijuana.
Each state has different limits on how much marijuana a person can possess at any given time. There is also decent variation when it comes to the number and size of plants a person can cultivate. In places like California, a citizen can grow up to six plants without a license. But in Oregon, a person can only grow four plants at a time before they need to get a recreational producers license.
Additionally, another 20 states and territories allow medicinal marijuana. Places like Arizona and Montana allow medical cannabis but will still need time to consider legalizing recreational consumption. This means that over half of the United States has access to some form of legal marijuana. But there are still some challenges to finding where to get weed. Luckily, the list of places where pot is legal continues to grow year by year.
Federal Law is Still a Challenge
Just because there are state laws legalizing weed doesn't mean there is no risk around producing or distributing marijuana. Weed remains federally illegal so there is still risk of prosecution for people in states where weed is legal. So it pays to read the specific laws in the state and city you plan to set up in.
If you don't plan on producing weed yourself, it still pays to learn the local rules and regulations. Some cities and municipalities have moratoriums or straight bans on production or distribution. Moratoriums can expire while bans rarely do. If your city has a moratorium, there is still hope you will be able to find legal weed in your area but only if you can organize.
Most producers and retailers rely on the federal government letting the states handle their marijuana laws. But every successful one understands that they operate in a legal grey zone that is constantly changing. Rules about packaging and testing can create hurdles that only the deepest pockets can overcome. That's why so many professionals in the field engage in a healthy dose of activism.
Access May Be Restricted in Legal States
Most marijuana consumers have no desire to produce their own product. For these individuals, their only legal option is to find a dispensary or clinic willing to provide for them. Unfortunately, the patchwork nature of cannabis regulation means access is not guaranteed to every citizen. This means you may need to travel to a different city or county to obtain your supply if you happen to live in one of these dry areas.
It doesn't matter if you are medical or a recreational user, you may still find it difficult to locate legal weed. In states like Washington and Oregon where recreational weed is legal, many business owners find themselves unable to provide enough cannabis at a price their medical patients can afford. So many medical users are forced to pay more or simply go without.
It seems like only a matter of time before the federal government is forced to reassess their stance on marijuana. With so many states offering some form of medical or recreational marijuana, the government is already struggling to justify the continued persecution of marijuana consumers just trying to find out where recreational weed is legal in the U.S.
Recreational marijuana is taking the nation by storm. The list of states that allow recreational or medicinal marijuana grows every year. Even our nation's capital allows recreational marijuana (although congress actively blocks the laws from coming into effect). It seems like only a matter of time before the federal government has to make some changes to the current state of marijuana.
There are a number of bills rolling through congress but there is little hope for any of them to make it out of committee. There simply is no will in the republican led executive branch to move forward on the available bills. Until things change in that respect, states must continue taking steps themselves.
At this time residents of Colorado, Washington State, Washington D.C., Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts are the only people allowed to recreationally consume cannabis without a permit or medical card.
But medical patients in Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Arizona, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire can obtain medical marijuana recommendations if they meet their states requirements. This November there is a high likelihood for more states to join the Green Revolution and add to the number states that have legal medical and recreational weed.