State Marijuana Laws in 2016 Map

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Three other states will soon join them after recently passing measures permitting use of medical marijuana.

Seven states and the District of Columbia have adopted more expansive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Most recently, California, Massachusetts and Nevada all passed measures in November legalizing recreational marijuana. California’s Prop. 64 measure allows adults 21 and older to now possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes. Other tax and licensing provisions of the law will not take effect until January 2018. In Nevada, adults will be able to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana beginning Jan. 1. A similar ballot measure in Massachusetts allows for possession of pot starting on Dec. 15.

Another recent ballot measure legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Maine narrowly passed, but opponents are expected to request a recount.

A number of states have also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Other states have passed medical marijuana laws allowing for limited use of cannabis. Some medical marijuana laws are broader than others, with types of medical conditions that allow for treatment varying from state to state. Others states (not shown on the map below) have passed laws allowing residents to possess cannabis oil if they suffer from certain medical illnesses.

Our map shows current state laws and recently-approved ballot measures legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. Medical marijuana laws recently passing in Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota have yet to become effective. Laws permitting recreational use in Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada have also not yet been implemented after receiving voter approval. Information is current as of Nov. 11, 2016.

Marijuana Legalization Status
 
Medical marijuana legalized
 
Marijuana legalized for recreational use
 
No laws legalizing marijuana

Some states, such as Virginia, enacted laws decades ago allowing for the possession of marijuana if individuals received prescriptions from doctors. Federal law, however, prohibits doctors from prescribing marijuana, rendering those laws invalid. Doctors can only write a recommendation for medical marijuana, which is different than a prescription.

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