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Survey of Marijuana Law in the United States: Legalized Marijuana for Recreational Use

States and Districts with Legalized Marijuana for Recreational Use

ALASKA 

 

  • Only people 21 and over may legally possess or use marijuana. It is illegal to give marijuana to anyone under 21 years of age. 
  • Aside for designated marijuana retail stores, all public use of marijuana, including smoking is prohibited. Consumption of marijuana can only occur on private parties, subject to the owners policies and prohibitions. 
  • One cannot bring marijuana on federal land - including national parks or forests, federal properties or federally regulated areas as federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug - the same category as heroin. 
  • It is illegal to drive (or operate any motorized vehicle) under the influence of any amount of marijuana. 
  • Adults aged 21 and older may possess, grow, and give away as many as 6 marijuana plants and may transfer up to 1 ounce of marijuana  to another adult. 
  • Marijuana is prohibited from being transported through federally regulated highways, airspace, or waterways (including the postal service). 

RESOURCE: What You Need To Know About Using Marijuana In Alaska by Alaska Department of Health and Social Services: Division of Public Health 

CALIFORNIA 

  • California residents legalized marijuana in 2016 and in 2017, the state legislature created a single regulatory system that governs the medical and adult-use marijuana industry. 
  • Only people 21 and over (with a government-issued identification) may legally possess, purchase or use marijuana. It is illegal to give marijuana to anyone under 21 years of age. 
  • One is not allowed to consume marijuana in any public place or area, any location where tobacco smoking is prohibited, within 1,000 feet of school, youth center or day care where children are present while not inside the confines of a private residence (if you are a private residence). Within 1,000 feet of a school/day/youth center, you may consume only if SMOKING is undetectable to the surrounding area.
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of any amount of marijuana. 
  • Adults aged 21 and above may transport up to 28.5 grams of marijuana flower and 8 grams of marijuana concentrate. To legally transport marijuana, it must be kept in a child-proof container out of direct reach of the driver. It is NOT legal to transport an open package or container of marijuana products (this rule applies to all passengers in the vehicle). Additionally, passengers of a vehicle are prohibited from smoking inside of the vehicle. 
  • Exporting marijuana across state lines is illegal, even if the state one is exporting to has legalized recreational marijuana. 
  • California residents may cultivate and posses up to 6 living marijuana plants (per residence). Marijuana plants must be kept in a locked space that is not visible to the public, and any marijuana product resulting from the plant that exceeds 28.5 grams must be kept secured within the private residence of the grower. 

RESOURCE: California Marijuana Laws: PotGuide.com 

COLORADO

  • Colorado legalized recreational marijuana legalized in November 2012. Notably the laws regulating marijuana are constantly changing. Cities are allowed to pass even stricter laws.
  • Only people 21 and over may legally possess, purchase or use marijuana. It is a felony to give or sell marijuana to anyone under 21 years of age. 
  • One is only allowed to buy and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana at a time from licensed retail stores. 
  • Only licensed retailers can sell marijuana products. Under state rules, retail marijuana business can open only between 8.00am and midnight. Retail marijuana must be sold in resealable, child resistant and not see-through packaging. The Department of Revenue mandates that all retail marijuana products have a symbol on the packaging. 
  • People 21 and over can give up to 1 ounce of marijuana products but cant sell marijuana (this applies to homegrown product).
  • Public use of marijuana (in any way - smoking, eating or vaping) in public places are prohibited. 
  • As marijuana is still illegal under federal law, use of marijuana on federal land is prohibited. 
  • Marijuana can be used on private property, subject to the owners policies.
  • Driving under the influence of marijuana is prohibited. 
  • Leaving the state with any marijuana product is against the law. 
  • For personal use, one can grow up to 6 plants per resident, with as many as 3 flowering plants at one time. Beginning January 1, 2018, all residences were limited to a maximum of 12 plants unless certain requirements are met. Marijuana plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked area that are not visible openly (for example, plants cant be outside). At homes with residents under 21, any marijuana grow area must be enclosed and locked in a separate space that minors cant access. At homes without residents under 21, extra precautions must be taken to make sure any visiting youth do not have access to marijuana plants. Homegrown marijuana or marijuana products cant be sold to anyone and only licensed grow establishments can sell marijuana products. 

RESOURCE: Legal Marijuana Use in Colorado by Colorado Official State Web Portal 

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

  • Only people 21 and over may legally possess or use marijuana. It is illegal to give marijuana to anyone under 21 years of age. 
  • One can ony possess 2 ounces or less of marijuana, transfer 1 ounce or less of marijuana to another person, cultivate with their residence up to 6 marijuana plants (no more than 3 of which are mature). 
  • Aside for designated marijuana retail stores, all public use of marijuana, including smoking is prohibited. Consumption of marijuana can only occur on private parties, subject to the owners policies and prohibitions.
  • It is illegal to drive  under the influence of any amount of marijuana. 
  • Private parties may transfer marijuana, provided that there is no payment or any other type of exchange of goods or services (no selling is allowed).

RESOURCE: The Facts on DC Marijuana Laws by Metropolitan Police Department

MASSACHUSETTS

  • Recreational marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts during 2016 trough ballot Question #4. The Chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission estimates that in 2019, 4-8 retail stores will open up every month.
  • Only people 21 and over may legally possess or use marijuana. It is illegal to give marijuana to anyone under 21 years of age. 
  • One is allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana or 5 grams of concentrate outside of their residence and up to 10 ounces of marijuana inside their residence. Additionally, adults may possess and cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants with a maximum of 12 per household.
  • All public use of marijuana, including smoking is prohibited. Consumption of marijuana can only occur on private parties, subject to the owners policies and prohibitions.
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of any amount of marijuana. 
  • Marijuana is still an illegal controlled substance under federal means which measn that if you travel across state lines with it, you could be charged with a felony crime at the federal level.

RESEARCH: Massachusetts Law About Marijuana by Massachusetts Government 

MICHIGAN 

  • Recreational marijuana (spelt marihuana in Michigan) was legalized in Michigan during the 2018 election. 
  • Only people 21 and over may legally possess, purchase, transport or use marijuana. It is illegal to give marijuana to anyone under 21 years of age. 
  • Only people 21 and older may possess, store and process not more than 10 ounces of marijuana produced by marijuana plants cultivated on the premises and cultivate not more than 12 marijuana plants for personal use, provided that no more than 12 marijuana plants are possessed, cultivated, or processed on the premises at once. 
  • Allows a personal to give away or otherwise transfer without remuneration up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, except that not more than 15 grams of marijuana may be in the form of marijuana concentrate, to a person 21 years of age or older, as long as the transfer is not advertised or promoted to the public. 
  • It is illegal to operate, navigate or be in physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, snowmobile, off-road vehicle or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana. 
  • One is not allowed to consume marijuana in any public place or area. Marijuana may be consumed on private property, subject to the owner's policies. A public place does not include an area designated for consumption within a municipality that has authorized consumption in designated areas that are not accessible to persons under 21 years of age. It is illegal to possess marijuana accessories or possess (or consume) marijuana on the grounds of a public or private school where children attend classes in preschool programs, kindergarten programs, or grades 1 through 12, in a school bus or on the grounds of any correctional facility. 
  • It is illegal to cultivate marijuana plants if the plants are visible from a public place with the use of binoculars, aircraft or other optical aids or outside of an enclosed area equipped with locks or other functioning security devices that restrict access to the areas. 
  • It is illegal to consume marijuana while operating, navigating, or being in physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, snowmobile, off-road recreational vehicle or motorboat or smoking marijuana within the passenger of a vehicle upon a public way. 
  • Municipalities may limit the number of marijuana establishments within their boundaries or prohibit them altogether. 

RESOURCE: An Overview of Michigan's Recreational Marihuana Laws 

NEVADA

  • Nevada voters passed a measure to legalize adult use marijuana in 2016. Adults aged 21 and above are allowed to consume and possess up to an ounce of marijuana and up to 1/8 of an ounce of concentrated marijuana.
  • It is illegal to consume marijuana in any public place or in a moving vehicle, even if you are a passenger. Essentially, this means that it can only be consumed on private property, subject the the property owner's policies. 
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. 
  • The only legal way to buy marijuana is from a state-licensed store (or dispensary). It remains illegal to buy marijuana from any other source. Customers purchasing retail marijuana will have to show proper identification that they are 21 or older, similar to alcohol purchases. 
  • It is legal to grow marijuana plants at home for personal consumption, but only if there is not a state-licensed retail marijuana store within 25 miles of the home. The following rules shall apply: 
    • Up to 6 plants per person, but no more than 12 plants per household. 
    • Plants shall be grown within a closet, room, greenhouse or other enclosed area that is equipped with a lock or other security device. Plants may not be visible from a public place. 
    • The grower must own the property or must have permission of the legal owner. 
  • A public or private employer is not prohibited from maintaining, enacting and enforcing a workplace policy prohibiting or restricting actions or conduct otherwise permitted under the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. 
  • Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, where its classified as a controlled substance. Therefore, marijuana is illegal on federal lands, including national parks and military bases. 
  • Marijuana users may be rejected from purchasing a firearm and marijuana charges may also jeopardize federal loans or subsidization. 

RESOURCE: Official State Information about Marijuana in Nevada 

OREGON 

  • Only adults 21 years and above may possess and purchase marijuana. 
  • In Oregon voters approved a measure allowing adults to posses up to an ounce of marijuana in public and 8 ounces in their homes. Property owners and landlords reserve the right to allow or deny marijuana use or cultivation on their property. 
  • Adults 21 years or above with a valid government-issued ID, can purchase: 
    • 1 ounce of usable cannabis 
    • 5 grams of cannabis concentrates or extracts
    • 16 ounces of cannabis edibles in solid form
    • 10 cannabis seeds
    • 4 immature cannabis plants 
  • Gifting of recreational marijuana between two adults 21 years of age or older is permitted, but only if the gifted amount does not exceed possession limits and the gift-giver does not accept any financial consideration (which include, money, goods or services, tips, cover chargers, admission fees, donations, raffles, fundraisers, sales). 
  • Under Measure 91, licensed retailers are allowed to dispense marijuana between 7.00am and 10.00pm local time. 
  • Smoking marijuana in public is illegal, even if in a vape pen. As a result, it can only be consumed at home or on private property. This means no bars, community parks, public outdoor smoking areas, on buses and airplanes or federal lane. 
  • Oregon has adopted a similar policy as Colorado, which allows for local cities and counties to decide for themselves if they allow recreational marijuana stores. However, personal possession is allowed regardless if a city/county allows recreational stores or not. 
  • Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal. 
  • It is illegal to transport across state lines, even if both states allow recreational marijuana. However, there are several allowances for transporting marijuana within the state. You are legally allowed to drive with marijuana in your vehicle, so long as you are within the legal possession limits and have your marijuana stored away from the driver in a child-proof container. Additionally, you can board a plan in Oregon with the legal public possession limit if you are flying within the state, but you may not smoke or open container on the plane or bring marijuana with you when traveling out of the state. I
  • You may not possess marijuana on federal land, including national forests, national parks, military bases, national monuments, federal courthouses, and other federal properties. You cant consume, grow, transport, or possess marijuana on any federal lands managed by federal agencies. 
  • Under current laws, you are allowed to group up to 4 plants per household but they must be kept out of public view. The limit per household is 4 plants, regardless of how many adults live there. 

RESOURCE: Oregon Marijuana Laws: PotGuide

VERMONT 

  • In January 2018, Vermont Governor signed a bill legalizing the possession and limited cultivation of cannabis by adults. The law became effective in June 2018. 
  • Only people 21 and over may legally possess or use marijuana. It is illegal to give marijuana to anyone under 21 years of age. 
  • Adults and older may: 
    • Possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana or 5 g of hashish; 
    • Cultivate up to 2 mature and 4 immature plants in a secure location (the plant limit applies to the entire dwelling unit); and 
    • Possess the marijuana produced by the plants at the same secure location.
  • It is illegal to consumer marijuana in public. 
  • Marijuana cultivation must be screened from the public view and secure from unauthorized access (including from those under 21). 
  • Possessing an open container of marijuana while driving is illegal. Smoking marijuana while a minor is in the vehicle is also illegal. One is not permitted to operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana. 
  • Using marijuana at a licensed child care facility or growing marijuana at a registered family child care home is prohibited. 
  • Municipalities may impose additional civil penalties for public consumption of marijuana. 

RESOURCE: Summary of Vermont's Marijuana Laws

WASHINGTON 

  • Washington integrated the medical marijuana market with the recreational marijuana market in June of 2016.
  • Anyone over 21 years old with a valid state ID from any US state (or international passport) can legally purchase marijuana in Washington State, although some local jurisdictions have banned dispensaries within their city limits. It is illegal to distribute marijuana to a person below the age of 21. 
  • Marijuana may not be consumed in public places, including schools, parks, or public transportation. 
  • Customers can purchase up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower at a time. The limit for concentrates is 7 grams; for edibles it is 16 ounces; and for liquids it is 72 ounces. This is also the limit you can have on your person at any time. 
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Transporting marijuana from state to state is illegal, whether crossing state lines in a car or sending a package of marijuana products in the mail. Consumers need to be aware that if a package containing marijuana is mailed, both the send and the receiving can face prosecution from both states. 
  • Neither dispensaries, processors, nor private growers are allowed to grow their own marijuana. Only businesses that are strictly regulated to cultivate marijuana in Washington are licensed grow facilities, who deliver the product to dispensaries after harvest. 

RESOURCE: Washington Marijuana Laws 

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