The Matter of Legality of Recreational Marijuana: States & More Details

The first and the most crucial is that recreational & medical cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. Nevertheless, in a number of USA states, the use and distribution of CBD products for medical purposes were allowed. To a certain extent, this has created a non-conformity with the legislative laws on drugs at the federal level and those at the level of each particular state.

At the same time, however, the federal government is not trying to anyhow influence the laws on the cultivation, sales, and keeping of marijuana in various states. It is evidenced by the instruction from the administration of the Obama presidency in 2009 saying that people who deal with CBD products as per the state legislation in force should not be prosecuted for this.

Is Decriminalization a Step Forward?

People have heard about the decriminalization of marijuana products’ possession. But what does it mean? Do the states allow the possession of medical marijuana in small quantities? Decriminalization stands for changing the classification of a criminal offense making it a civil one or the reduction of penalties imposed for a specific violation of the law.

In terms of marijuana, 26 states have decriminalized marijuana possession in low quantities. If you have been caught for the first time, you will not be sent to jail for such an offense. However, the repeated violation, as well as distribution of larger amounts of weed are still prosecuted, and people can be sentenced to jail if they are caught.

Out of the 26 states with the adopted marijuana decriminalization, 16 have not legalized it in any other form. While the remaining states have laws on the use of medical marijuana.

Opponents Vs Supporters

In the field of the legality of medical cannabis use and distributions, there are opponents who underline the hazard to the health of those who use it, the danger of addiction, and they also have moral concerns. On the other hand, proponents of recreational marijuana state that the danger is not superior to drinking alcohol or smoking, while the benefits for relaxation and pain relief are more obvious. While these arguments do not seem to cease in the nearest time, here is an overview of the decriminalization and legalization of recreational CBD products in brief.

  • 2012 – Colorado – the initiative legalizing the recreational use and sale of cannabis was approved. This made Colorado the first state that has legalized CBD products.
  • Nine years since 2012 – Guam, Washington, D.C., and 18 other states have followed the same route to the legalization of recreational marijuana.
  • Today – Democratic politicians and some Republicans support the idea of medical cannabis legalization. There have even been several bills introduced in Congress. Some of them are aimed at the decriminalization of medical marijuana at a federal level

Licenses & Other Essential Information

While the laws authorize the cultivation and use of recreational marijuana for personal use, there are also some provisions for retailers and dispensaries. If you want to work in the niche, it is necessary to bear in mind that a company should obtain a license to work officially according to the laws of the state where it works.

All the states where medical CBD products are legal will issue licenses to dispensaries and retailers. If you have a lot of plans for the future of your business, for instance, you have invested in the promotion of your cannabis project, take into account the list of states with legalized marijuana and make sure to follow the provisions of the legislation in force so that to obtain all the necessary licenses, certificates, or authorizations, whatever is required by the laws. The exceptions are:

  • Vermont: dispensaries will start obtaining licenses starting from October 2022;
  • The district of Columbia has no regulatory body for controlling the activity of recreational cannabis companies; and
  • Guam officials have recently got the changes to the policy on ownership of a cannabis business introduced (in June 2021).

Every state specifies its own provisions for the age from which it is allowed to cultivate or use CBD products, as well as the tax on the revenue. Here are the most essential points by the state in brief.

State  What Is allowed & Taxes
Colorado
  • Over 21 y.o.
  • Every citizen can give away up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants each.
  • No more than 12 plants are allowed in a residence regardless of how many people live there.
  • Public use is illegal.
  • Standard sales tax + 10% additionally
Washington
  • Over 21 y.o.
  • Citizens can have up to an ounce of marijuana; there are other requirements for marijuana-infused edibles in solid form, liquid products, and concentrates.
  • A 37% excise tax.
  • Public use is illegal.
Alaska
  • Over 21 y.o.
  • Every citizen can possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants each, only three of them can be mature.
  • Public consumption is illegal.
Oregon
  • Over 21 y.o.
  • Every citizen can possess up to an ounce of marijuana in public and up to eight ounces if a person is at home.
  • One can grow up to four plants.
  • Public consumption is illegal.
Washington D.C.
  • Over 21 y.o.
  • Every citizen can possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana and give no more than an ounce.
  • One can grow up to six plants, only three of them can be mature.
California
  • Over 21 y.o.
  • Every citizen can possess & give away up to an ounce of marijuana.
  • One can grow up to six plants.
  • Public consumption and use while driving are illegal.
  • Standard sales tax + 15% of an excise tax.
Maine
  • Over 21 y.o.
  • Every citizen can possess & give away up to 2.5 ounces.
  • One can grow up to six flowering and 12 immature plants.
Massachusetts
  • Over 21 y.o.
  • Every citizen can possess up to an ounce or up to 10 ounces at home.
  • One can grow up to six plants, and 12 plants are allowed in one household.
Nevada
  • Over 21 y.o.
  • Citizens can possess up to an ounce of marijuana or up to eight ounces of concentrated marijuana.
  • One can grow up to six plants, and 12 plants are allowed in one household.
  • Using in public and in a car is illegal.
Michigan
  • Over 21 y.o.
  • Citizens can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or up to 15 grams of concentrated marijuana.
  • One can grow up to 12 plants in one household.
Vermont
  • Growing and possession are legal, while buying and selling are illegal until October 2022.
Guam
  • Over 21 y.o.
  • Every citizen can possess up to an ounce of marijuana.
  • One can grow up to six plants, only three of them can be mature.
Illinois
  • Over 21 y.o.
  • Citizens can possess 30 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of concentrated cannabis, and products containing up to 500 milligrams of THC.
  • If you are traveling to the state, you can have half of the above quantities.

Besides, in a number of states, the laws and bills on the legal use and possession of CBD products are actively adopted and voted for. So, if you are interested in working in one of the below states, keep track of the legislative changes there:

  • New York
  • Virginia
  • New Mexico
  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • Montana
  • South Dakota
  • Arizona

Final Words

As you can see, the general tendency in the country is geared towards the legalization of recreational cannabis. A lot of work is actively carried out to decriminalize offenses related to the use or storing of marijuana, and new laws are constantly adopted. So, keep informed of the news in the niche to know to which states you can extend your business.