In the United States, the use and possession of cannabis is illegal under federal law for any purpose by way of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA). Under the CSA, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use – thereby prohibiting even medical use of the drug. Despite this, most states have legalized either or both the medical and recreational use of cannabis.
The medical use of cannabis is legal with a doctor's recommendation in 37 states, four out of five permanently inhabited U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia (D.C.). Eleven other states have laws that limit the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), for the purpose of allowing access to products rich in cannabidiol (CBD). Although cannabis remains a Schedule I drug, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment prohibits federal prosecution of individuals complying with state medical cannabis laws.
The recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in 18 states,[a] Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and D.C. Another 13 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized its use. Commercial distribution of cannabis has been legalized in all jurisdictions where possession has been legalized, except for D.C. Personal cultivation for recreational use is allowed in all of these jurisdictions except for Washington State and New Jersey.
Some cannabis-derived compounds have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for prescription use. Cannabinoid drugs which have received FDA approval are Marinol (THC), Syndros (THC), Cesamet (nabilone), and Epidiolex (CBD). For non-prescription use, CBD and delta-8-THC derived from industrial hemp are legal at the federal level, but legality and enforcement varies by state.
Legal for recreational use
Legal for medical use
|Alabama||Misdemeanor for first offense, subsequent offenses felony||Legal||Not clearly stated||Legal for licensed cultivators, not individual patients|
|Alaska||Legal||Legal||Up to 1 oz (28 g)||Twelve plants in a household with two adults 21+, or no limit with commercial license|
|Arizona||Legal||Legal||Up to 1 oz (28 g)||Six plants in a household, or a maximum of 12 with two or more adults 21+|
|Arkansas||Illegal||Legal||Medical use only||Medical use only|
|California||Legal||Legal||Up to 1 oz (28 g)||Legal (six plants for personal use, or a commercial license)||
|Colorado||Legal||Legal||Up to 2 oz (57 g)||Legal (six plants for personal use, or commercially licensed)||
|Connecticut||Legal||Legal||Legal to carry up to 1.5 oz (43 g) or possess up to 5 oz (140 g) locked inside a home or trunk of a vehicle||Legal (Up to three mature and three immature plants) beginning October 1, 2021 for medical marijuana patients, and for all adults 21 and older beginning July 1, 2023|
|Delaware||D||Decriminalized (civil infraction)||Legal||Medical use only||Medical use only|
|Florida||Illegal||Legal||Medical use only||Medical use only|
|Georgia||Illegal; decriminalized in the cities of Atlanta, Clarkston, Forest Park, Savannah, South Fulton, Statesboro, unincorporated Fulton County, and Macon–Bibb County.||CBD oil (less than 5% THC)||Medical use only||Illegal||
|Hawaii||D||Decriminalized||Legal||Against program rules||Medical use only||
|Idaho||Misdemeanor (85 g (3.0 oz) or less)||CBD oil (less than 0.1% THC)||Not clearly stated||Felony||
|Illinois||Legal||Legal||Up to 30 g (1.1 oz)||Five plants in home for medical use only, or commercially licensed for recreational||
|Indiana||Misdemeanor (up to 6 months in jail, $1000 fine)||CBD oil (less than 0.3% THC) legal for any use||Not clearly stated||Illegal||
|Iowa||Illegal||THC content of 4.5 grams per patient in a 90 day period||Not clearly stated||Felony||
|Kansas||Misdemeanor||CBD oil (containing 0% THC) legal for any use||Not clearly stated||Illegal|
|Kentucky||Misdemeanor for less than 8 oz (230 g)||CBD oil||Not clearly stated||Misdemeanor (less than 5 plants)||
|Louisiana||D||Decriminalized up to 14 grams (0.49 ounces)||Legal||Medical use only||Illegal||
|Maine||Legal||Legal||Legal to carry up to 2.5 oz (71 g)||Up to three mature plants, twelve immature plants and unlimited number of seedlings; or commercially licensed|
|Maryland||D||Decriminalized (Up to 10 g)||Legal||Medical use only||Illegal|
|Massachusetts||Legal||Legal||Legal to carry up to 1 oz (28 g) outside the home, or store up to 10 oz (280 g) within a home||Up to six plants for personal use or twelve plants maximum for 2 or more adults in a household; or a commercial license.|
|Michigan||Legal||Legal||Legal to carry up to 2.5 oz (71 g) outside the home, or store up to 10 oz (280 g) within a home||Up to 12 plants per household, or commercially licensed||
|Minnesota||D||Decriminalized||Legal||Medical use only||Medical use only|
|Mississippi||D||Decriminalized (first offense; 30 g (1.1 oz) or less)||Legal||Medical use only||Licensed cultivators only, patients cannot grow their own|
|Missouri||D||Decriminalized||Legal||Not clearly stated||Legal for medical use||
|Montana||Legal||Legal||Legal to possess up to 1 oz (28 g) marijuana or 8g of concentrates||Legal (Up to four plants per household)||
|Nebraska||D||Decriminalized (first offense only)||Illegal||Not clearly stated||Illegal||
Possession up to 1 oz (28 g) fined up to $300 for first offense, with potential mandatory drug education. Second offense fine up to $500 and up to five days' jail, third offense up to $500 fine and maximum one week jail.
|Nevada||Legal||Legal||Legal||Adults at least 21 years old can grow in home (6 plants per household), or commercially licensed|
|New Hampshire||D||Decriminalized up to 0.75 oz (21 g)||Legal||Medical use only||Medical use only|
|New Jersey||Legal||Legal||Up to 6 oz (170 g) for an individual. Licensed delivery services allowed.||Legal for licensed cultivators only||
|New Mexico||Legal||Legal||Up to 2 oz (57 g)||Up to six mature plants for personal use; or twelve per household||
|New York||Legal||Legal||Up to 3 oz (85 g) of cannabis for recreational purposes or 24 grams of concentrated forms of the drug, such as oils.||Up to three mature and three immature plants per person, maximum twelve per household.||
|North Carolina||D||Decriminalized (42 g (1.5 oz) or less)||CBD oil||Illegal||Illegal||
|North Dakota||D||Decriminalized (14 g (0.49 oz) or less)||Legal||Medical use only||Medical use only|
|Ohio||D||Decriminalized (civil infraction)||Legal||Not clearly stated||Medical use only|
|Oklahoma||Illegal||Legal||Not clearly stated||Legal with medicinal license|
|Oregon||Legal||Legal||Up to 2 oz (57 g), more for licensed cultivators||Four plants per household for adults 21+, or commercially licensed||
Decriminalized In Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (<30g)
|Legal||Medical use only||Illegal||
|Rhode Island||D||Decriminalized (civil violation)||Legal||Medical use only||Medical use only||
Possession of 1 oz (28 g) $150 fine, three violations within 18 months a misdemeanor with larger fines or prison or both.
|South Carolina||Misdemeanor||Cannabis oil (less than 0.9% THC)||CBD oil||Illegal|
|South Dakota||Misdemeanor||Legal||Medical use only||Medical use only||
Personal use of 2 oz or less a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 1 year in prison and a maximum fine $2,000.
Medical use legal effective July 1, 2021.
|Tennessee||Misdemeanor (less than .5 oz (14 g); first or second offense only).||Cannabis oil (less than 0.9% THC)||CBD oil||Misdemeanor (nine plants or less)
Felony (ten or more plants)
First-time possession one year supervised probation instead of one year in prison; possession of .5 oz (14 g) or more for resale a felony. CBD oil possession allowed as of May 4, 2015, if suffering seizures or epilepsy with recommendation of doctor.
|Texas||Illegal (De facto legal by refusal to arrest for less than 4 ounces in possession in Austin. "cite and release" in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and residents of Travis County.)||CBD oil (no more than 1% THC and no less than 10% CBD)||Not clearly stated||Illegal||
|Utah||Misdemeanor||Legal||Not clearly stated||Illegal||
|Vermont||Legal||Legal||Legal to possess up to 1 oz (28 g)||Legal (two mature plants, four immature)||
|Virginia||Legal||Legal (with commercial sales)||Legal to possess up to 1 oz (28 g)||Up to four plants per household|
|Washington||Legal||Legal||Legal to possess up to 1 oz (28 g)||Legal with restrictions and commercial licensing||
|West Virginia||Misdemeanor||Legal||Not clearly stated||Illegal||
"Compassionate Use Act for Medical Cannabis; providing for protections for the medical use of cannabis..."
|Wisconsin||Misdemeanor on first offense, felony on subsequent offenses; decriminalized in the city of Milwaukee||CBD oil||Not clearly stated; qualified patients for CBD oil may have 3 oz (85 g) of leaves or flowers||Felony; qualified patients for CBD oil may have twelve plants||
First possession a misdemeanor fine up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to 6 months, or both. Second offense a Class I felony fine up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 3.5 years, or both. Medical CBD oil legalized in 2014 and 2017. In 2020, Madison, WI legalized the possession of up to 1 oz (28 g) of recreational cannabis, including smoking cannabis on public property (not including places where cigarettes are already banned, inside or within 1000 feet of a school, or behind the wheel).
|Wyoming||Misdemeanor||CBD oil||Not clearly stated||Illegal||
Being under the influence of marijuana is a misdemeanor up to 90 days in prison and fine up to $100. Possession of 3 oz (85 g) or less a misdemeanor up to 1 year in prison and fine up to $1000.
|District of Columbia||Legal (no commercial sales)||Legal (commercial sales)||Legal to carry up to 2 oz (57 g)||Legal to grow up to six plants (only three mature at a time) for recreational purposes; no provision for commercial recreational cultivation||
In 1999, the territory established a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for possession of any amount of any illegal drug, to explicitly include marijuana, even when medically prescribed in another jurisdiction.
|Northern Mariana Islands||Legal||Legal||Legal||Legal|
|Puerto Rico||Illegal||Legal||Medical use only||Medical use only||
|U.S. Virgin Islands||D||Decriminalized||Legal||Medical use only||Medical use only|
Main article: Cannabis on American Indian reservations
|Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
|Legal||Legal||Legal||One single licensed grow site for the nation||In summer 2015, the tribal authorities voted 5–1 to legalize recreational cannabis, making them the first reservation to do so following the 2013 Cole Memorandum.|
|Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe (South Dakota)||Legal||Legal||Legal||Legal||Legalized by referendum in March 2020, ordinance effective November 27, 2020.|
|Legal||Legal||Legal||Legal||In September 2015, the tribe signed the nation's first tribe-state cannabis pact, under which the tribe would operate a cannabis retail store with regulations paralleling those of Washington state.|
|Squaxin Island Tribe
|Legal||Legal||Legal||Legal||Legalized in November 2015.|
|Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
|Legal (no commercial sales)||Legislation approved in August 2021 to allow sale and cultivation.||Legal up to one ounce||Illegal||Legislation approved in May 2021 to allow possession of up to one ounce.|
|St. Regis Mohawk Tribe
|Legal||Legal||Legal||Legal (up to twelve plants)||Legislation approved in June 2021 legalizing adult-use cannabis and establishing a dispensary license program where all growing, processing, and sales must take place on tribal land.|
|United States jurisdictions with legalized recreational cannabis|
|Jurisdiction||Legalization date||Licensed sales since||Legalization method|
|Washington (state)||December 6, 2012||July 8, 2014||Initiated Ballot Measure|
|Colorado||December 10, 2012||January 1, 2014||Initiated Ballot Measure|
|Alaska||February 24, 2015||October 29, 2016||Initiated Ballot Measure|
|Washington, D.C.||February 26, 2015||N/A||Initiated Ballot Measure|
|Oregon||July 1, 2015||October 1, 2015||Initiated Ballot Measure|
|California||November 9, 2016||January 1, 2018||Initiated Ballot Measure|
|Massachusetts||December 15, 2016||November 20, 2018||Initiated Ballot Measure|
|Nevada||January 1, 2017||July 1, 2017||Initiated Ballot Measure|
|Maine||January 30, 2017||October 9, 2020||Initiated Ballot Measure|
|Vermont||July 1, 2018||October 1, 2022||Legislative Bill|
|Northern Mariana Islands||September 21, 2018||June 16, 2021||Legislative Bill|
|Michigan||December 6, 2018||December 1, 2019||Initiated Ballot Measure|
|Guam||April 4, 2019||Not yet started||Legislative Bill|
|Illinois||January 1, 2020||January 1, 2020||Legislative Bill|
|Arizona||November 30, 2020||January 22, 2021||Initiated Ballot Measure|
|Montana||January 1, 2021||January 1, 2022||Initiated Ballot Measure|
|New Jersey||February 22, 2021||April 21, 2022||Legislatively Referred Ballot Measure|
|New York||March 31, 2021||Expected 2022 or 2023||Legislative Bill|
|New Mexico||June 29, 2021||April 1, 2022||Legislative Bill|
|Connecticut||July 1, 2021||Aimed to start by end of 2022||Legislative Bill|
|Virginia||July 1, 2021||January 1, 2024||Legislative Bill|
Retail sales of cannabis aim to begin in Connecticut by the end of 2022.