Is Marijuana Still Illegal? [The Most Recent Information]

Finally understood
Nicole Richter Nicole Richter / Updated on March 24, 2019

We’ll be perfectly honest – it is an absolute nightmare trying to keep up with the ever-shifting legal status of marijuana these days. Just when you think it’s been legalized for good (or at least decriminalized), you hear another story of some poor soul getting busted and sent to jail for a ridiculous possession amount of like an eighth-ounce or something tiny.

And moreover, with CBD oil taking a massive foothold in the industry and other goodies like wax concentrates, shatters, dabs, and edibles making profound statements as well, it can be borderline impossible knowing what’s legal, and what’s not.

That’s why in this article, we decided to try and answer the question of “is marijuana still illegal” as clearly as possible. Of course, though, whether or not bud is legal will depend on the state that you live in, so with that in mind, we’ve included answers on each and every state in the good ‘ol USA. Enjoy, and we hope this article is of some help to you (let’s just hope it’s not outdated by the time you read it!).

Where Is Marijuana Recreationally Legal?

As of early Spring 2019, marijuana is recreationally legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington (state), and Washington D.C.

This means if you live in any one of these states, you can go to a certified cannabis dispensary and buy any marijuana product your little heart desires, as long as you’re over the age of 21 — no MMJ card, no certification, and no medical documentation necessary.

(*However, be advised that some recreationally-legal states, such as Michigan, do not yet have operational dispensaries open. While possession of weed is technically legal, you still can not go into a store and buy it without a medical marijuana card).

When it comes to actually smoking bud, however, (or taking edibles, concentrates, etc.) rules are a little bit more stringent. You are not allowed to smoke in the vast majority of recreational dispensaries (although some are kind of lenient on the official rules), and consumption is also prohibited in (most) public places – pretty much identical to the way alcohol is.

Likewise, you can still get busted by the police faster than you can say “I’m stoned” if you get caught doing something stupid like driving while high.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; when using recreational weed, it’s best to treat it like alcohol – consume it in your own home (or otherwise in some other safe and legal location), and use it responsibly.

In What States Is Weed Medically Legal?

In addition to the ten states (plus D.C.) listed above (i.e. weed is legal both medically AND recreationally in those states), marijuana is legal on a medical level in another 23 states. These include:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas (not yet operational)
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana (not yet operational)
  • Maryland
  • Montana
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri (not yet operational)
  • New Mexico
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota (not yet operational)
  • Ohio (not yet operational)
  • Oklahoma (not yet operational)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah (not yet operational)
  • West Virginia (not yet operational)

In these states, in order to buy (and use) marijuana legally, you must be officially registered with the state as a resident, have a qualifying medical condition, and own a valid Medical Marijuana Patient Identification Card (MMJ Card).

(See our detailed list of the state-by-state processes for obtaining a medical marijuana card here).

In the states listed as “not yet operational,” this simply means that legislation has passed for the legal medical use of marijuana, but dispensaries (and or ID cards) are not yet at a functioning status. Some states, (like Ohio or Oklahoma), seem to be a confusing mess in terms of what’s required for the MMJ application, while others (like Florida) are pretty cut and dry.

Bear in mind that in these states, unless you have your valid MMJ card on you, you are liable to get arrested (and potentially serve jail time) if you are caught with any amount of marijuana.

In What States Has Marijuana Been Decriminalized?

In some states where weed has been legalized medically but not recreationally, laws have been passed to decriminalize the possession of marijuana. This means that if you get caught with weed and don’t have an MMJ card, you are only eligible to receive a fine, rather than actually getting arrested and going to jail.

Here are the states where weed has been decriminalized:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island

In these states, even though weed is not recreationally legal, you cannot get arrested for use or possession of normal amounts.

*(Note that for purposes of redundancy, the ten states (and D.C.) where weed is legal recreationally have been omitted).

What About CBD — In What States Is CBD Legal?

In addition to the jumbled mess of recreational, medical, and decriminalized versions of legalization, some other states have passed laws for CBD-only legalization, even though marijuana itself is still illegal on both the medical and recreational levels.

If you are unfamiliar with CBD, it is basically a therapeutic compound from marijuana that has tons of medical components but produces no high. There are some marijuana strains that have been bred specifically to contain high amounts of CBD and practically zero THC (the component that gets you high), but the majority of people who use CBD use either edibles, topical ointments, or oil drops that you place under the tongue.

We won’t go into much detail here in this article, but CBD is actually an incredibly therapeutic compound that has seemingly no end to its list of potential medical uses. Among other things, it has shown clinical potential to help treat things like cancer, diabetes, depression, anxiety, stress, obesity, inflammation, and chronic pain.

Here are the states that have CBD-only legalization:

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming
  • Wisconsin

*(Also note that in these states, you do need a medical recommendation in order to buy legal CBD from a state-certified dispensary).

Final Thoughts on “Where Marijuana Is Legal?”

If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll have noticed that only Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota have zero laws whatsoever on legalized marijuana (or CBD). Way to go, guys, you’re the ONLY THREE STATES in the country that can’t acknowledge the myriad of health benefits that cannabis offers!

It is important to note, even though cannabis is legal on a recreational or medical level in many states in the United States, marijuana is still illegal on a Federal level all throughout the U.S.

In any regard, we hope that this article has been helpful and informative in terms of figuring out where marijuana is legal. It certainly is not an easy topic to stay on top of, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into when you go to light up — no matter what state you’re in!


  1. Jonathon Yoder
    Sanity still exists

    Right on folks, there are at least 3 sane states left.

    1. Paige :)
      ignorant people will ruin the earth

      Some of you people are so ignorant, it is PROVEN that marijuana has tons of health benefits, including the potential to help treat cancer. It’s not fair to put marijuana in the same category as herion, and meth. Marijuana is natural! If God didn’t want it here, it wouldn’t be here. Hemp products could also take place of plastic products which would solve a lot of our problems with pollution, because unlike plastic, hemp products desolve. But shit I forgot that most of you are so ignorant and so stuck up your asses that you can’t open your minds to new ideas, that would benifit everyone, including yourselves & our planet.

  2. ronald ross, jr.
    Marihuana and the workplace, the upcoming huge debate.

    My question is?> If you are sent from a hiring hall and go to a construction site that tests for marijuana in the state of NY and if you are a patient of Medical Marihuana and possess a prescription ID card; can the employer not hire you?(NYC). I hear of very misleading information,……..1)The NYS Lawmakers are putting a bill together to exclude marihuana from the drug test at the workplace. 2) Provided that you are enrolled in MM, have a Dr. that you see on a regular basis and marijuana is prescribed, the employer can not refuse your employment with the provision that it is not consumed during work hours, on the job and the MM patient is not intoxicated at the workplace. 3) it does not matter if you have a MM ID card in NY, the employer will still not hire you.

    Can anyone answer these questions? I have been told that the employer can add a marijuana ban to the employees. The conflicting factor is there are numerous employess/ workers whom have serious medical issues and most of them to deal with chronic pain and their other symptoms they can get prescribed percocets’ or oxycontin from their doctor. As long as they have a scrip for the drug that is tested they are good to work and provided there is no indications over overuse or toxicity in the Mgt.’s eyes’. Although when a worker possesses a MM ID scrip, the employer has the right to not hire them.
    Yesterday I was at a hiring hall. The last time this guy had smoked was 5 weeks, (36 days). That is when he decided to quit marihuana. Yesterday was the 5th of March. He was sent to a job, had taken a urine test and the test the contractor’s safety department uses is very sensitive. Barely noticeable yet visually a very faint line had appeared after 2-3 minutes on the side of the container. Hardly was there any amount of THC in the man’s system. Unfortunately the worker was not permitted to work. Back to the hall he went very troubled, upset and sat on the bench. We are paying very close to the industry or engineer whom devises a marihuana toxicity device similar to a alcohol test. What is the toxic level? We are paying close attention to the person or company that creates a marijuana toxicity device. What about determining a person’s toxicity levels through blood? By way of using a instrument similar to light puncture devices that diabetics use and then there is a level read by a graph scale? That would be tough to determine for everyone’s body reacts differently when under the influence of marijuana but different strains help aid in ailments. The difficulty in measuring the Toxicity level is because it stores in your fat calls for a extended period of time. I have not heard of a toxicity level device for marihuana in my lifetime except with the way forensics are they can determine that off of dead people with better success even though no one has ever died from a marihuana overdose. There have been “eating overdoses’, but nothing fatal. The other argument is , a man or woman can work whom is on methadone, (80% of the patients use the clinic as a crutch to prevent themselves from getting dope sick and still actively use Xanax, heroin , E, Molly). A MM patient whom abides by the law and responsibly uses the prescribed marijuana in the privacy of home is not permitted to work?In my understanding, the use of marihuana is widespread, the Lawmaker/freeholder have created laws to work with the citizens’ of the state they reside and the state also making amicable income from the sale and use of dispensary’s. So, it works for everybody and we are all happy. But there is always going to be a glitch. And that glitch is tat workers’ are threatened for the use of marihuana.
    Just think, NJ of all states to legalize. The deficit is getting paid, new programs’, money to better the nieghbourhoods. The laws need further revision to assist in the protection of workers’ rights. After all the recent rising of MM patients and dispensary’s are on the rise, we are still in the infantile stages with the marijuana laws in both NY and NJ. There is a lot of opinion with proposed legalization and the appreciated leniency in the medical marijuana industry . Laws are overlooked. It is medication but because it has the label of a ‘gateway drug’, that is why there is so much debate. I look at it this way, just as we do with alcohol,……if you drink too much you will suffer the consequences legally and physically. Oh well, as Clint Eastwood says,” A man has got to know his limitations.”

    3) MORE BULLSHIT! Stated by a worker was that contractors’ will not allow a prospective employee whom is on MM to work. I have been looking into this and that type of action by an employer is a violation of human right’s, if a person is consuming a prescribed medication to enhance the development of their health and assist in their suffering, good for him. The man (or woman)found what works best for them and they live easier with their condition. Also what is being kicked around is that the laws regarding a prospective employee whom has MM, can not work and until someone takes it to the appellate division then the laws may be repealed or inducted in The State of NY. Recently a judge had ruled in Dec.2018, JUDGE, “medical marihuana user fired from job for failing drug test can sue former employer.”
    Though it is a private lawsuit and you the petitioner is responsible for all attorney fees unlike a personal injury case, please find me average working class citizen whom works as a forklift driver is going to afford the attorney fees let alone the time for research and taking time off of work to attend lengthy court appearances. In rare cases are the petitioners case strong enough for a lawyer to extend their services provided a petitioner has a significant amount of evidence. This forklift operator never had any write-ups of wrong doing. He did point out safety issues to the Safety Mgt. and at the location of the complaints, a track had separated from the ties while using equipment on the tracks and the shuttle wagon had derailed. They tested him and positive for marihuana. Fired. The worker claims they were looking for a excuse to fire him because he was labeled as a “whistleblower’ and that the company was biased with him because he is a MM patient. So now we have employers in authourity whom are biased against MM patients and will find any reason to terminate you. This MM and the workplace situation is going to blow up into a huge ordeal with the Lawmakers, Companies, Employers of all variations’. Can anyone answer these questions I have. Thanks. RR

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