Legality of cannabis by U.S. state

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

  (Redirected from Legality of cannabis by US state)
Jump to: navigation, search

  State with legal medical cannabis
  State with decriminalized cannabis possession laws
  State with both medical and decriminalization laws
  State with legalized cannabis

Note: Cannabis remains a Schedule I substance under federal law as of 2013.

The use, sale, and possession of cannabis (marijuana) in the United States is illegal but the federal government has announced that if a state wants to pass a law to decriminalize cannabis for recreational use they can do so, but they need to have a regulation system in place for cannabis. Cannabis is listed as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the highest classification under the legislation. This means that the substance has been decided by the federal government to have both high abuse potential and no established, safe medical use.

However, individual state laws do not always conform to the federal standard. State-level proposals for the rescheduling of cannabis have met with mixed success. A number of states have decriminalized the substance to varying degrees, other states have created exemptions specifically for medical cannabis, and several have both decriminalization and medical laws. Two states, Colorado, and Washington, have legalized the recreational use of cannabis following the approval of state referenda in the 2012 elections; a similar ballot measure in Oregon failed.

By state[edit]

 Alaskabmisdemeanormedical use onlyIllegalLegalPossession legal if Less than 4 oz in your residence. Cultivation, Less than 25 plants in residence incarceration N/A. Fines 0. Read more at
 Arizonamillegal (felony)medical use onlyillegal (felony)illegal (felony)
 ArkansasimisdemeanorillegalillegalillegalThe possession of under four ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor under state law, carrying a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year's imprisonment. For those with two existing convictions for possession, a third offense or above is treated as a Class D felony, and carries a punishment of a maximum of six years' imprisonment and a maximum $6,000 fine.[1] In the northwestern cities of Fayetteville and Eureka Springs, citizens voted to make adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority.[2]

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act was put up for referendum in the November 2012 elections. The act would have allowed for non-profit organisations to grow and sell medicinal cannabis and additionally permitted patients who live over five miles from a legal dispensary to cultivate a small number of plants on their own property.[2] It was voted down with only 48.6%[1] of voters in favour, but activists reportedly plan to continue working to pass legislation. Were the act to have passed, it would have been the first of its kind in the South.[3]

 Californiabdecriminalizedmedical use only
 Coloradollegalmedical and recreational uselegallegal with a permit[4]Colorado Amendment 64 legalized the sale and possession of marijuana for non-medical uses on November 6, 2012 and is currently pending the creation of a new regulatory framework. According to Norml, private cultivation of up to six marijuana plants, with no more than three being mature is no penalty. &
 Connecticutbdecriminalized (except within 1500 ft of a school or daycare)felony (any amount)illegalfelonypossession of less than one half ounce by persons 21 and over will result in graduating scale of fines, and seizure of contraband. Under 21 will face addition sanctions, to include temporary loss of license to drive.
 Delawaremmisdemeanorillegal (felony)illegal (felony)illegal (felony)On Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 Gov. Markell announced that he was suspending the medical marijuana program because his office received a letter from the Obama Justice Department alleging that its implementation would subject those licensed under the law, as well as public servants, to federal criminal prosecution.
 Floridaimisdemeanor (if 20 grams or less)illegal (felony)illegal (felony)illegal (felony)Conviction causes a driver's license suspension for a period of 2 years.
 Georgiaimisdemeanor (if 1 oz (28 g) or less)illegal (felony)illegal (felony)illegal (felony)Any conviction of a marijuana possession, sale, or cultivation offense results in suspension of drivers license. First-time offenders may be eligible for a conditional discharge under Section 16-13-2 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.), which operates as a dismissal if certain conditions are met, such as the payment of a fine and community service.
 Hawaiibmisdemeanor (less than 1 oz (28 g))medical use onlyillegal (felony)illegal (felony)
 Idahoimisdemeanor (85 grams/3 oz. or less)illegal (felony)illegal (felony)illegal (felony)
 Illinoismmisdemeanor (30 grams or less)misdemeanor (10 grams or less)illegalmisdemeanor (fewer than 5 plants)Illinois passed the Cannabis Control Act in 1978, which technically allows for medical marijuana. However in order for it to become an actuality, action is required from two state departments—Human Services and the State Police—neither of which has taken action.[5][6]

On August 1, 2013 Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana; the legislation takes effect on January 1, 2014.[7]

 Indianaimisdemeanor (30 grams or less)misdemeanor (30 grams or less)illegalillegal
 Iowaimisdemeanorillegal (felony)illegalillegal (felony)
 Kentuckyimisdemeanor (less than 8 oz (230 g))misdemeanor (less than 8 oz (230 g); first offenseillegalmisdemeanor (less than 5 plants)Written a ticket with a court date and then released for misdemeanor possession.
 Mainebdecriminalized (Legal in the city of Portland)medical use onlymedical use onlymedical use only
 Marylandiaffirmative defense for
medical purposes only*
illegalillegalillegal*By statutory law, defendants who can prove medical necessity at trial face no penalty if they possess 1 oz (28 g) or less.[8][9]
 Massachusettsbdecriminalizedmedical use only
 Michiganmmedical use only (misdemeanor if not for medical use)medical use onlymedical use onlymedical use only*Under zero tolerance, users cannot operate a motor vehicle in possession or under the influence of a Schedule 1 narcotic. Marijuana is listed as a Schedule 1 narcotic.
 Mississippiddecriminalized (first offense; 30 grams or less)illegalillegalillegalAs a first offense, possession of 30 grams or less carries up to a $250 fine. If valid proof of identity and a signed written pledge to appear in court is provided by the offender, an arrest is not performed and civil summons is issued instead. The University of Mississippi reportedly also has a small-scale, federally-approved medicinal cannabis cultivation program, though cannabis is not legal for such purposes in the state itself.[10]
 Missouriiillegal (misdemeanor)illegal (felony)illegalillegal
 Montanammedical use onlymedical use onlymedical use only
 Nebraskaddecriminalized (first offense only)illegalillegalillegalPossession of up to one ounce of cannabis is treated as a civil infraction for the first offense, and as a misdemeanor for the second and third offenses. A fine of up to $300 may be issued for the first offense, along with potential court-mandated drug education courses. A second offense is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to five days' jail time, and a third offense carries up to a $500 fine and a maximum of one week in jail.[11]
 Nevadabdecriminalizedmedical use onlymedical use onlymedical use only
 New Hampshiremmedical use only (misdemeanor if not for medical use)Medical use onlymedical use onlymedical use only
 New Jerseymillegalmedical use onlyillegalillegal
 New Mexicommedical use onlymedical use onlymedical use onlymedical use only
 New Yorkddecriminalizedmisdemeanor (less than 25 g)illegalmisdemeanor
 North Carolinaddecriminalizedillegal (felony)illegal10 lbs 3–8 months with discretionary fine, felonydecriminalized up to 0.5 oz (14 g) is not an arrestable offense, and is typically thrown out of court. Max fine $0 (discretionary) up to 10 lb (4.5 kg). 10 lb (4.5 kg) and up is a $5,000 fine. However, 1.5 oz (43 g) to 10 lb (4.5 kg) is considered punishable, but usually only high amounts of weight are more strictly punished, and even then, usually offenders trafficking will only expect to see about 3 months in jail. Usually if caught by police with small amounts, given a traffic ticket. Personal use can typically be expunged. Police usually do not typically enforce against medicinal use.
 North Dakotaiillegalillegalillegalillegalillegal
 OhiodecriminalizedillegalillegalillegalPetitions have been submitted and approved by the state ballot committee to allow Ohio voters to legalize cannabis for medical purposes if the patient is 18 years old or older, but would only be able to be prescribed by a physician.
 OklahomaiillegalillegalillegalillegalDUI penalties pursuant to H.B. 1441, effective Oct. 1, 2013, a person will be jailed for no less than 10 days or more than 1 year if: A person as any amount of a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance, as defined in Section 2-204 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes, OR ONE OF ITS METABOLITES OR ANALOGS in the person’s blood, saliva, urine or any other bodily fluid at the time of a test of such person's blood, saliva, urine or any other bodily fluid administered within two (2) hours after the arrest of such person.  A second offense will have longer sentencing as well as require an ignition interlock device that can only detect alcohol even if person is not a user of alcohol.

New penalties for possisson or making of hashish, a grinder, or brownies may include life imprisonment were enacted in 2011. [12][13]

 Oregondecriminalizedmedical Use Onlymedical use onlymedical use onlyOn 6 November 2012, voters in the state rejected Ballot Measure 80 by a margin of 53% to 47%. The measure would have allowed personal recreational use and cultivation of marijuana and hemp without a license, and would have established a commission to regulate the commercialized sale and cultivation of the plant.
 PennsylvaniaillegalillegalillegalillegalDecriminalized in Philadelphia for possession of 30 grams or less.
 Rhode Islanddecriminalized/Civil Infraction (1 oz or less as of 2013-04-01), IllegalfelonyillegalFelonyPossession of an ounce or less will become a civil violation with a $150 fine [as of 2013-04-01], three violations within 18 months would be a misdemeanor with larger fines and/or prison. [14]
 South CarolinaillegalillegalillegalillegalFirst-time possession offenders can complete one year of probation instead of following conventional criminal procedure.[15]
 South Dakotaillegalillegalillegalillegalillegal
 Tennesseemisdemeanor (before 3rd offense)illegalillegalillegal
 Vermontdecriminalizedmedical use only
 VirginiamisdemeanorillegalillegalillegalPossession calls for $500 in civil fines.
 Washingtonllegallegal, license requiredlegallegal with restrictions and licensingMarijuana was legalized by Washington Initiative 502. The law requires state licenses from all sellers, distributors and producers of Marijuana, and permits anyone over 21 to carry one ounce. The state allows licensed growers to cultivate marijuana, but does not permit personal growing in one's home except for medical use.[16]
 West Virginiamisdemeanorillegal (felony)illegalillegal
 District of Columbiamedical use onlymedical use only
 Puerto Ricoillegalillegalillegalillegal

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Arkansas". Marijuana Policy Project. 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  2. ^ a b Gwynne, Kristin (2012-08-24). "Arkansas Sends Medical Marijuana Law to the Ballot". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  3. ^ Sherer, Stef. "Medical Marijuana Advocates Take Fight to DC". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  4. ^ "Marijuana Legalization On The Ballot". Huffington Post. 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  5. ^ "Medical Marijuana Is Already Legal in Illinois". 
  6. ^ "720 ILCS 550/ Cannabis Control Act.". 
  7. ^ "Gov. Quinn Signs Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill". 
  8. ^ NORML - "Maryland Medical Marijuana". 
  9. ^ "BILL INFO-2011 Regular Session-SB 308". 
  10. ^ "Mississippi". Marijuana Policy Project. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  11. ^ "Nebraska". Marijuana Policy Project. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "Oklahoma life-for-hash bill signed, also includes life-for-brownies or grinders". NORML Foundation. 2011. 
  13. ^ "Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act". The State of Oklahoma. 2011. 
  14. ^ McKinney, Mike (2012-06-13). "R.I. Gov. Chafee signs into law decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana / Poll | Breaking News | | The Providence Journal". Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  15. ^ S. C. Code of Laws Section 44-53-450
  16. ^ "I-502 Implementation". The state of Washington: Washington State Liquor Control Board. 2013.