It can get pretty confusing distinguishing between decriminalization, medical legalization, and recreational legalization. So we broke state legislation down for you.
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Even though it’s technically not legalization, decriminalization effectively signals the beginning of the end of prohibition in a state. While these places haven’t outright legalized, they have laws on the books that lower the penalty for possessing non-medical pot: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York (unless it’s open to public view), North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A handful of these places still count weed possession to be a misdemeanor, so even though there’s no jail time associated with your stash being found you might not get away with a spotless record. (The inconspicuous PAX 3 kit or DaVinci IQ might help you fly under the radar.)
Guam, Puerto Rico, and these states have legalized only medical marijuana: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. The qualifying conditions for medical programs vary: California, which also legalized recreational marijuana, has laws that allow the treatment of essentially “any debilitating illness” with the plant.
Some states have a different level of medical legalization, with relatively restrictive CBD-focused programs. Missouri, Oklahoma, Indiana, Mississippi, Utah, Wyoming, Virginia, and Tennessee’s laws allow only for the use of CBD in cases of epilepsy, while Texas and Iowa permit more general use. Alabama has a total of 81 patients on its CBD roster CBD, but even then it’s only within the confines of a state-sponsored trial. Georgia’s strange law allows the possession of 20 ounces of cannabis oil that has no more than 5% THC with at least a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio. Programs like South Carolina’s, while less restrictive than states where CBD is permitted only for cases of pediatric epilepsy, still doesn’t treat things like PTSD or even AIDS and cancer. The widest allowance of these CBD-only states is probably Wisconsin’s, legalizing CBD in any case where a doctor recommends it.
The states blazing the way into recreational marijuana are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Three tribes have also legalized pot on their lands: the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, the Suquamish Tribe, and the Squaxin Island Tribe. Though D.C. has also legalized recreational pot, there has been an ongoing fight between the city and Congress about the program and the market has been relatively halted. While laws may differ among these states when it comes to openly displaying or smoking pot, these are the places where you’ll be able to walk into a dispensary and pick up some bud—if you’re above the legal age, that is.