Legalization by State
State Marijuana Laws in 2017 Map
Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form. Three other states will soon join them after recently passing measures permitting use of medical marijuana.
Seven states and the District of Columbia have adopted the most expansive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Most recently, California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada all passed measures in November legalizing recreational marijuana. California’s Prop. 64 measure allows adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes. Other tax and licensing provisions of the law will not take effect until January 2018.
Several legislatures in states recently passing legalization measures are debating regulatory proposals around the use and sale of marijuana. Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing bills that would lower the amount residents can legally possess and place restrictions on retail stores. In Nevada, one proposal calls for businesses to obtain permits allowing for the public use of marijuana.
A number of states have also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Some medical marijuana laws are broader than others, with types of medical conditions that allow for treatment varying from state to state. Several states (not shown on the map below) have passed narrow laws allowing residents to possess cannabis only if they suffer from certain rare medical illnesses.
Our map shows current state laws and recently-approved ballot measures legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. Medical marijuana laws recently passing in Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota have yet to become effective.
Information is current as of March 23, 2017.
||Medical marijuana broadly legalized|
||Marijuana legalized for recreational use|
||No broad laws legalizing marijuana|
Some states shown above with no laws broadly legalizing medical marijuana provide limited access under certain circumstances. States like Alabama and Mississippi, for instance, maintain laws permitting medical marijuana for severe epileptic conditions.
Some states, such as Virginia, enacted laws decades ago allowing for the possession of marijuana if individuals received prescriptions from doctors. Federal law, however, prohibits doctors from prescribing marijuana, rendering those laws invalid. Doctors can only write a recommendation for medical marijuana, which is different than a prescription.
Governing.com. "State Marijuana Laws Map"