Here is the current status of the legality of cannabis state by state.
Legal medically and recreationally
In the United States, a GREEN state is one where citizens are allowed to buy and consume cannabis for medical or recreational purposes. These states benefit from a regulated industry, more jobs, greater tourism, more collected taxes and more medical alternatives, especially needed in today's opioid crisis.
These 18 states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana*, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico*, New York, Oregon, South Dakota*, Vermont, Virginia*, Washington plus Washington D.C. and Guam.
*Voted, not yet enacted
A medical state is one where citizens are allowed to buy and consume cannabis only for medical purposes. These states benefit from a somewhat regulated industry, more jobs, more collected taxes and more medical alternatives.
These 18 states include: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah and West Virginia.
In these US states, if you purchase, possess or consume cannabis you are considered a criminal and will be treated as such. These states prefer an unregulated, underground industry, delivering fewer medical options, harder to access with a more dangerous product to be consumed. They do not benefit from industry jobs nor do they collect taxes to go towards health or education. These states incarcerate more of their citizens, diminishing taxable income and robbing families of time together.
These 14 states include: Alabama, Georgia*, Idaho, Indiana*, Iowa*, Kansas, Kentucky*, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas*, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
*Passed a legal exception for CBD oil.
Cannabis is listed as a Schedule 1 drug alongside heroin. By that definition it has no medicinal value and has proven to be dangerous. However, the United States government holds a patent on some cannabinoids found in cannabis due to their medicinal uses, and for all its years of use there has never been a case of overdose.
Oxycodone and fentanyl are both listed as less harmful Schedule 2 drugs. Opioid overdoses were responsible for nearly 35,000 American deaths in 2015 alone. There were 53 million oxycodone prescriptions filled in 2013 by US pharmacies, according to NIDA, which translates to one bottle of this addictive drug for every 6 people in the country.
The tide is turning. A majority of Americans think cannabis should be legal and our laws, state by state, are starting to accomplish this. But millions are still denied access, or languish in prisons, due to antiquated laws that hurt rather than help us.
Do your part to help these fellow citizens and show the world how cannabis should be managed, with education, understanding and compassion:
- Support reform legislation efforts by the Senate
- Ask your Congressional Representative to join the Cannabis Caucus
- Support Veterans’ access to Medical Marijuana