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The state of play – where is cannabis legal?

Even those who follow cannabis news religiously will admit it’s hard to keep up with the bombardment of legislation coming from states all over the country. At the most progressive end of the cannabis spectrum we see the likes of Colorado and California creating a legal recreational market, while states such as Alabama that have adopted a more cautious approach are bringing in CBD-only laws to help those with debilitating conditions.

In this post, we’ll break down what various state legislation means, and simplify all of that confusing cannabis jargon!

Which states have decriminalized marijuana?

There is a difference between decriminalization and legalization, but the former generally marks the first step towards the latter. The following states have not yet chosen to legalize weed, but they have drastically reduced the penalties faced by those caught in possession of recreational cannabis.

As of late 2017, the states that have decriminalized marijuana are: Alaska, Vermont, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Connecticut, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, the U.S Virgin Islands and New York. There is a small caveat in New York, in that those caught using or in possession of weed in public areas could be arrested, although this could soon stop.

However, some of these states still consider possession of marijuana a misdemeanor. So, while pot isn’t about to land you in a jail cell, you could still end up with a blot on your record. For cannabis users in those states, it’s best to keep your usage of cannabis completely private.

Which states have legalized medical marijuana?

The following states have legalized medical marijuana, with varying qualifying conditions: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, New Mexico, New Jersey, Ohio, Minnesota, Florida, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. The territories of Puerto Rico and Guam have also legalized medical cannabis. Some states have strict restrictions for medical marijuana, whereas states like California take a more relaxed approached, allowing it for “any debilitating illness.”

A few states have brought in only a minor form of legalization, with legislation known as CBD-only laws. These states include Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, Virginia, Utah, Wyoming and Missouri, which only permit CBD medication for approved epilepsy cases. Texas and Iowa allow more widespread CBD use. Alabama is even more restrictive, with CBD products only available to eligible patients as part of a study conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In Georgia, residents are permitted to have up to 20 ounces of CBD oil, but no oil products can contain more than 5 percent THC, and they must also have as much CBD in them as THC.

South Carolina has a more comprehensive CBD program than Missouri and others, but post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and AIDS are still not qualifying condition. If one state has made genuine medical marijuana advancements through a CBD-only law, it is Wisconsin, where it is accessible to anybody who has received a doctor’s recommendation.

Which states have legalized recreational marijuana?

The following states have legalized recreational marijuana, as of late 2017: Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Massachusetts, Alaska, Maine and California. In addition, the Squaxin Island Tribe, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and the Suquamish Tribe have also voted to legalize the plant in their respective jurisdictions. Recreational marijuana is also legal in the District of Columbia, however there is no legal way for residents to purchase weed, only possess it. A dispute between Congress and the city means pot is quasi-legal in D.C. for now – you won’t get busted for it, but you’ll struggle to find any in the first place!

Laws on advertising, smoking openly and displaying products vary from state to state. But in any state that has legalized recreational pot, you’re free to walk in and buy some dank bud, tasty edibles, super-strength concentrates or whatever takes your fancy without a card – providing you are 21!

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