• Taylor H.

States Where Cannabis is Legal

Updated: Jan 14, 2019


Not very long ago, the concept of a cannabis business involved shady deals with unmarked plastic bags in dimly-lit back alleys, inconspicuous hand-shakes with dollar bills, and futile efforts to escape the long arm of the law. Each year that goes by, there is a shift in cannabis legalization across the states and globe. From Canada going all out, to Mexico making big strides, federal legalization of cannabis in the United States is inevitable.


Cannabis legalization is sweeping the United States, and support for ending prohibition reached new heights in 2018. A Gallup poll showed that 64% of Americans favor legalization and even a majority of Republicans back it.


Today, ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use, while 36 states have broadly legalized medical cannabis for qualifying medical conditions. With a rapidly growing market, it may be a bit confusing to navigate the nuances of where to access legal cannabis.


To make things a little easier, check out the guide below to see which states have legalized recreational cannabis, which states only allow medical, and which states are slow to shift views on legalization.




States Where Recreational Cannabis is Legal


Recreational or “adult-use” Cannabis: the term “adult-use” comes from the idea that not all patrons of a cannabis dispensary are consuming cannabis solely for medicinal purposes, but rather for pleasure. Cannabis provides a myriad of unique benefits that are mistakenly characterized as “getting high.”


These include its ability to extend patience and promote self-examination; to awaken a sense of wonder and playfulness, and openness to spiritual experience; to enhance the flavor of a meal, the sound of music, or the sensitivity of a lover’s touch; to open the mind and inspire creativity; to bring poetry to language and spontaneity to a performer; to catalyze laughter, facilitate friendship, and bridge human differences.



  1. Alaska

  2. California

  3. Colorado

  4. Maine

  5. Massachusetts

  6. Michigan

  7. Nevada

  8. Oregon

  9. Vermont

  10. Washington

  11. Washington D.C.


States Where Medical Cannabis is Legal

Medical Cannabis: refers to cannabis and cannabinoids that are recommended by a doctor for the relief of symptoms for certain ailments. Medical cannabis isn’t used to cure diseases, using it may not change the outcome of a certain disease, but it can ease certain symptoms and improve the quality of life for patients.


Medical marijuana can be effective in providing symptom relief for: Alzheimer’s disease, Anxiety, Cancer, Chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Glaucoma, Insomnia, inflammation, depression, PTSD, seizures, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, Tourette’s Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Migraines, Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and Epilepsy to name a few.


  1. Arizona

  2. Arkansas

  3. Connecticut

  4. Delaware

  5. Florida

  6. Hawaii

  7. Illinois

  8. Louisiana

  9. Maryland

  10. Minnesota

  11. Missouri

  12. Montana

  13. New Hampshire

  14. New Jersey

  15. New Mexico

  16. New York

  17. North Dakota

  18. Ohio

  19. Oklahoma

  20. Pennsylvania

  21. Rhode Island

  22. Utah

  23. West Virginia


States With CBD-Only Laws


Cannabidiol (CBD) and Low-THC: Cannabidiol is one of the 400+ ingredients found in cannabis but lacks the psychoactive effects most commonly associated with cannabis; in other words, it’s non-intoxicating. Many states have passed CBD-only laws legalizing the use and possession of certain CBD products for specific, qualifying medical conditions. These laws are state specific and often limit the legal possession and use of CBD products with minimal tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to children with epilepsy, seizures, nerve and muscle afflictions.


  1. Alabama

  2. Georgia

  3. Indiana

  4. Iowa

  5. Kentucky

  6. Mississippi

  7. North Carolina

  8. South Carolina

  9. Tennessee

  10. Texas

  11. Virginia

  12. Wisconsin

  13. Wyoming


States Where Cannabis is Illegal


The use, sale, and possession of all forms of cannabis remain illegal under federal law, and illegal in the following states:

  1. Idaho

  2. Kansas

  3. Nebraska

  4. South Dakota



© 2019 by The J. Whitney Group.

All Regional Laws Apply to The JWG Services

Cannabis Business Consulting
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The J.Whitney Group, LLC

8565 S. Eastern Ave. 

Las Vegas, NV 89123

Bldg. 150 | Ste.172

P: 702.623.5543

E: cannabusiness@jwhitneygroup.com