The State of Marijuana Legalization Across the United States

Marijuana is increasingly becoming more popular in the United States. Many states are starting to make it legal, but many still count it as a criminal offense to be in the possession of it so you can even go to jail for having it on you in the wrong state. Follow the information about these states to see where it’s legal so you know when to not have it around.


California is a state famously known for the weed grown there that has spread to be popular through the United States. The state was known for being the first to push towards marijuana legalization when the issue had its first ballot initiative in 1972. California finally was pushed more on the issue and so medical marijuana became legal in 1996 with recreational use being legalized in 2016. Today, citizens who are 21 or older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use. Additionally, adults can grow up to six live plants and even more if they have a commercial license. California is largely seen as one of the best in terms of freedom with marijuana.


Colorado is another state known for being one of the first states to approve marijuana for medical purposes. In 2000, Amendment 20 was passed in which patients with approval from doctors, could possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana at the time while being able to grow up to 6 marijuana plants. However, the Colorado Amendment 64 in 2012 brought marijuana recreationally to the state. Today, adults 21 and older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana at the time and have six marijuana plants placed in a locked-up space. If you’re looking for a state that isn’t very restrictive with marijuana, Colorado is one of the states to go to.


Like other states in the west, Washington was one of the first to legalize marijuana. In 1998, the state decided to put Initiative 692 on their voting ballot which would decriminalize medical marijuana. Citizens of the state weren’t completely on board with legalization of medical marijuana, but it was helped that a large newspaper, The Seattle Times, become one of the first to endorse the initiative. Initiative 692 passed which allowed physicians to prescribe medical marijuana for many different illnesses. At the time, the law didn’t allow dispensaries, but law enforcement seemed not to care much so you would see a dispensary in Seattle and everywhere around Washington. Over the years, the idea of legalizing any dispensary in seattle for recreational purposes became popular and so the state finally became the first to legalize it recreationally when Initiative 502 passed in 2012. Today, you can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana if you are over the age of 21. While the state doesn’t let you grow plants as other states do, the law in Washington is still better than some of its neighbors.


Marijuana has quickly become one of the hottest issues for American voters. Other than this list provided, marijuana is also fully legalized in Oregon, Nevada, Michigan, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine. Make sure you fully read up on the specific laws before getting into it though.

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Author: Jill T Frey