Legality of cannabis by U.S. state

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State laws regarding the legal status of cannabis in the United States
  State with legalized cannabis
  State with both medical and decriminalization laws
  State with legal medical cannabis
  State with decriminalized cannabis possession laws
  State with total cannabis prohibition

Cannabis remains a Schedule I substance under federal law as of 2014.

The use, possession, sale, cultivation, and transportation of cannabis (marijuana) in the United States under federal law is illegal but the federal government has announced that if a state wants to pass a law to decriminalize cannabis for recreational or medical 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; similar ballot measures in Oregon and California have barely failed. Recently, the state of Maryland passed legislation that decriminalized possession of 10g or less of cannabis and simultaneously created a medical cannabis regulatory framework to dispense to patients and caregivers in the state. New York and Minnesota have now also passed Medical Cannabis laws.

By state[edit]

State Possession Sale Transportation Cultivation Notes
 Alabama e misdemeanor felony illegal illegal Marijuana for personal use only is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year and a maximum fine of $6,000.Sale of a controlled substance in Alabama is a Class B felony punishable with a minimum sentence of 2 years and a maximum sentence of 20 years, along with a maximum fine of $30,000.

The sale to a minor is a felony which is punishable by a sentence of 10 years-life imprisonment and a maximum fine of $60,000.[1]

 Alaska b decriminalized medical use only medical use only medical use only Possession legal if less than 4 ounces in your residence. Cultivation legal if less than 25 plants in residence. Penalties: Incarceration: N/A. Fines: 0. Read more at http://norml.org/laws/item/alaska-penalties
 Arizona d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only In November 2010 Arizona legalized medical marijuana when the voters passed Proposition 203 with 50.13% of the vote.[2][3][4]
 Arkansas e misdemeanor illegal illegal illegal The 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.[5] In the northwestern cities of Fayetteville and Eureka Springs, citizens voted to make adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority.[6]

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.[6] It was voted down with only 48.6%[5] 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.[7]

 California b decriminalized (civil infraction) medical use only medical use only medical use only In July 1975 California enacted Senate Bill 95 which reduced the penalty for possession of 1 ounce of cannabis or less to a citable misdemeanor.[8]

On November 5, 1996 California became the first state in the United States to legalize medical marijuana when the voters passed Proposition 215 by 56%.[9]
On September 30, 2010 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1449 which further decriminalized the possession of 1 ounce or less to a civil infraction leading to no jail time and punishable by a maximum $100 fine.[10][11]

 Colorado a legal medical and recreational use legal to carry up to 1 oz. (28 grams) legal to grow up to six plants for an individual, or commercially with a license[12] 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. http://norml.org/laws/item/colorado-penalties & http://norml.org/legal/item/colorado-legalization?category_id=1582
 Connecticut b decriminalized (except within 1500 ft of a school or daycare) medical use only illegal felony Possession 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.
 Delaware d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only 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.
 Florida e misdemeanor (if 20 grams or less) felony felony felony Conviction causes a driver's license suspension for a period of 1 year (as of July 1st, 2014).
 Georgia e misdemeanor (if 1 oz (28 g) or less) felony felony 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. Legal marijuana oil may be legal soon. Waiting for approval, passed state so far.
 Hawaii d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only On June 15, 2000 Governor Benjamin Cayetano signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana.[13][14]
 Idaho e misdemeanor (85 grams/3 oz. or less) felony felony felony Personal use possession of 3 ounces or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000 if for. If the quantity possessed is more than 3 ounces but less than 1 pound, it is a felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.[15]
 Illinois d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only 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.[16][17]

On August 1, 2013 Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana; the legislation took effect on January 1, 2014.[18]

 Indiana e misdemeanor (30 grams or less) misdemeanor (30 grams or less) illegal illegal House bill 1185 introduced by Rep. Sue Errington (D) on January 13, 2014 was referred to Courts and Criminal Code Committee. The bill will provide a defense to prosecution for marijuana possession if the defendant has a valid prescription or order of a practitioner.[19]

Sale or cultivation of more than 10 lbs or within 1,000 feet of a school, or any other specialized area will result in a minimum of 2–8 years and a $10,000 fine.[20]

 Iowa e misdemeanor felony illegal felony Possession of any amount on the first, second, and third charges will be classified as misdemeanors with a 6 month, 1 year, and 2 years sentence respectively. The maximum fines for the first, second, and third charges will be $1,000, $1,875, and $6,250 respectively. Chronic marijuana smokers may be sent to rehab after the third offense. Selling or cultivation can result in a $100,000 fine if a minor is involved or if within 1,000 feet from a school.[21]
 Kansas e misdemeanor illegal illegal illegal Senate bill 9 was pre-filed by David Haley (D) on January 10, 2013. This cannabis compassion and care act will allow the use of medical marijuana for certain debilitating conditions. Patients would be allowed to own 12 plants or 6 ounces of marijuana for therapeutic purposes. This bill was referred to the committee on Public Health and Welfare January 15, 2013 and is still set on the official legislature website February 28, 2014.[19]

The first possession charge of any amount will result in a misdemeanor with a 1 year incarceration sentence and a $1,000 fine maximum. The second offense can result in a fine of $100,000. Sale or distribution of any amount can result in a $300,000 fine.[22]

 Kentucky e misdemeanor (less than 8 oz (230 g)) misdemeanor (less than 8 oz (230 g); first offense illegal misdemeanor (less than 5 plants) Written a ticket with a court date and then released for misdemeanor possession.
 Louisiana e illegal illegal illegal illegal Possession of any amount on the first offense has a mandatory 5–30 years and a max. fine of $50,000. Subsequent offense has a minimum of 10–60 years and a max. fine of $100,000. Any involvement of a minor will result in a 45-90 year sentence and a $75,000 fine.[23]
 Maine b decriminalized (civil infraction) (legal in the city of Portland) medical use only medical use only medical use only On November 2, 1999 Maine legalized medical marijuana when 62% of the populace voted yes on Question 2.[24]

On May 1, 2009 Maine further decriminalized cannabis when Governor John Baldacci signed legislation (LD 250) which made possession of 2.5 ounces or less a civil infraction.[25][26]
On November 5, 2013 voters in Portland, Maine passed Question 1 by 67% which legalized the possession of 2.5 ounces within the city's limits.[27][28]

 Maryland b decriminalized (10g or less) medical use only medical use only medical use only *By statute, defendants who can prove medical necessity at trial face a maximum penalty of $100. Defendants in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana are permitted to raise an affirmative defense to the possession charge if they can prove they suffer from a specific debilitating medical condition. [29]

On April 14, 2014 Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed two pieces of cannabis reform legislation. SB 364 decriminalizes possession of 10 grams or less to a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine for the first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense, and a $500 fine plus possible drug treatment for a third offense. HB 881 legalizes the possession, sale, and production of medical cannabis, and it authorizes the creation of a commission to license dispensaries, doctors, and patients to manage distribution. These two laws do not go into effect until October 1, 2014, prior to the effective date, possession of any amount of marijuana could still be charged and prosecuted. [30][31]

 Massachusetts b decriminalized (civil infraction) medical use only medical use only medical use only On November 4, 2008 Massachusetts decriminalized cannabis when 63% of the populace voted yes on Question 2. The legislation defines possession of 1 ounce or less to be a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine.[32][33]

On November 6, 2012 the state legalized medical marijuana when voters passed Question 3 by 60%.[34][35]

 Michigan d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical 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.
 Minnesota b decriminalized medical use only medical use only illegal Possession of 42.5 grams or less is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $200 for personal use. The distribution of 42.5 grams or less without remuneration is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $200. Smoking plant material still illegal. Only legal to vapor, oil and pill form for medical purposes.
 Mississippi c decriminalized (first offense; 30 grams or less) illegal illegal illegal As 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.[36]
 Missouri e misdemeanor felony illegal illegal Possession of less than 35 grams is a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Possession of 35 grams- 30 kilograms is a Class C felony which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000. Possession of 30-100 kilograms is considered trafficking and is a Class B felony punishable by a sentence of 5–15 years and a fine of $5,000-$20,000. Possession of more than 100 kilograms is considered trafficking and is a Class A felony punishable by 10 years-life imprisonment and fine of $5,000-$20,000.[37]

 Montana d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only Personal use possession of 60 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment and a fine of $100 – $500. A second offense is punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000. Possession of more than 60 grams is a felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000. Possession of any amount of marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000.[38]
 Nebraska c decriminalized (first offense only) illegal illegal illegal Possession 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.[39]
 Nevada b decriminalized for adults 21 years and over; misdemeanor for persons under age 21 medical use only medical use only medical use only On November 7, 2000 Nevada legalized medical marijuana when 65% of the populace voted yes on Question 9.[40][41]
 New Hampshire d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only On July 23, 2013 New Hampshire legalized medical marijuana when Governor Maggie Hassan signed HB 573.[42][43]
 New Jersey d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only On January 18, 2010 New Jersey legalized medical marijuana when Governor Jon Corzine signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.[44][45]
 New Mexico d medical use only medical use only medical use only medical use only In April 2007 New Mexico legalized medical marijuana when Governor Bill Richardson signed Senate Bill 523.[46][47]
 New York b decriminalized (unless open to public view[48]) misdemeanor (25 g or more) illegal misdemeanor On July 7, 2014 New York legalized medical marijuana when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act into law. The legislation only allows patients to ingest cannabis using edibles, oils, pills, or vaporization, and does not allow smoking of the plant material.[49][50][51]
 North Carolina c Misdemeanor, expunction/decriminalization bills (HB 637) introduced April 2013. Felony Illegal and subject to Possession/Sale punishments. Felony. Only the state is "legally" allowed to grow cannabis. Specific strains of low THC (less than 1%) and high CBD (10%) are being researched and developed and processed into an oil by the state for distribution to medical facilities, universities and colleges. Specific strains such as Charlotte's Web are being researched. Bills introduced to decriminalize and allow expungement of 0.5 oz (14 g) and below, currently remains a Misdemeanor with no jail time and a max of a $200 fine. 0.5 oz (14 g) to 1.5 oz (43 g) is a misdemeanor with 1-45 days of jail and a max of $1000 fine. 1.5 oz (43 g) to 10 lb (4.5 kg) is a felony with 3-8 months of jail and a max of $1000 fine. 10 lb (4.5 kg) and up is generally considered intent to sell which holds greater jail time and fines maxing at 14.5-18 years jail time and $100,000 in fines. Intent to sell also holds stricter consequences than possession and is a felony no matter the weight (weight determines punishment severity). Medical Marijuana bill introduced May, 2014 awaiting committee decision.
 North Dakota e misdemeanor illegal illegal illegal Personal use possession of less than half an ounce is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 days imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Personal use possession of less than half an ounce while operating a motor vehicle is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000. Personal use possession of half an ounce - 1 ounce is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.[52]

 Ohio c decriminalized illegal illegal illegal Petitions 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 medical provider.
 Oklahoma e illegal illegal illegal illegal DUI penalties pursuant to H.B. 1441, effective Oct. 1, 2013, a person will be jailed for no less than 30 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 possession or making of hashish, a grinder, or brownies may include life imprisonment were enacted in 2011. [53][54]

 Oregon b decriminalized medical use only medical use only medical use only On 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.
 Pennsylvania e misdemeanor illegal illegal illegal Possession of 30g or less is a misdemeanor resulting in up to 30 days incarceration and a fine of up to $500. Possession of more than 30g is a misdemeanor netting up to a year in jail and a $5000 fine.[55]
 Rhode Island b decriminalized (civil violation) medical use only medical use only medical use only Possession 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.[56]
 South Carolina e illegal illegal illegal illegal First-time possession offenders can complete one year of probation instead of following conventional criminal procedure.[57]
 South Dakota e misdemeanor illegal illegal illegal Personal use possession of 2 oz or less is a Class 1 misdemeanor which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,000.[58]
 Tennessee e misdemeanor* (less than 1/2 ounce; first or second offense only) felony illegal misdemeanor: 9 plants or less; felony: 10+ plants First-time possession offenders can complete one year of supervised probation instead of criminal penalty of one year incarceration; *Possession of 1/2 ounce or more is automatic felony charge: possession for resale.
 Texas e illegal illegal illegal illegal "Both the current leadership and candidates for prominent political offices are increasingly calling for marijuana policy reform in the Lone Star State--In Texas, a conviction for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana can result in a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to $2,000." [59]
 Utah e misdemeanor felony illegal illegal House bill 105 was introduced by Representative Gage Froerer (R) and has been passed and signed by the governor. This bill would excuse anyone who was in possession of hemp extract. Hemp extract means an extract from a cannabis plant, or a mixture or preparation containing cannabis plant material, that is composed of less than .3% of THC by weight.[60]

Possession of less than an ounce can result in a 6 month incarceration and a maximum fine of $1,000. Any amount over 10 ounces can result in a $10,000 fine. Selling of any amount is a felony and will result with 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.[61]

 Vermont b decriminalized (civil infraction) medical use only medical use only medical use only On May 19, 2004 Vermont legalized medical marijuana when Governor James Douglas announced he would allow Senate Bill 76 to pass without his signature.[62] The law was further expanded in June 2007 when Senate Bill 7 passed without Governor Douglas' signature once again.[63]

On June 6, 2013 Governor Peter Shumlin signed legislation (HB200) which decriminalized the possession of 1 ounce or less to a civil infraction.[64]

 Virginia e misdemeanor illegal illegal illegal Possession calls for $500 in civil fines.
 Washington a legal legal, license required legal legal with restrictions and licensing Marijuana 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.[65]
 West Virginia e misdemeanor felony illegal illegal "Creates the "Compassionate Use Act for Medical Cannabis; providing for protections for the medical use of cannabis..."" [66]
 Wisconsin e illegal illegal illegal illegal "An Assembly bill allows qualifying patients to possess 12 marijuana plants and three ounces of marijuana leaves or flowers." [66]
 Wyoming e misdemeanor illegal illegal illegal "Being under the influence of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 90 days imprisonment and a maximum fine of $100.

Possession of three ounces or less is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1000." [67]

By Federal district[edit]

District Possession Sale Transportation Cultivation Notes
 District of Columbia b decriminalized (civil violation) medical use only medical use only medical use only DC Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill that decriminalizes possession of up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana in the U.S. capital. The law makes possession a civil violation with a penalty of $25, lower than most city parking tickets. Possession had been a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The law was signed on 31 March 2014.

By Insular Areas[edit]

State Possession Sale Transportation Cultivation Notes
 American Samoa e illegal illegal illegal illegal
 Guam e illegal illegal illegal illegal
 Northern Mariana Islands e illegal illegal illegal illegal
 Puerto Rico e illegal illegal illegal illegal A public dialogue has begun on the legal status of Cannabis in Puerto Rico.
 U.S. Virgin Islands e illegal illegal illegal illegal

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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