TABLE OF CONTENTS
Below we have outlined all the recreational cannabis states and provided a basic rundown of their laws.
What Is Recreational Cannabis?
Recreational cannabis, or adult-use cannabis, is the legal use of cannabis for recreational purposes. This means consuming cannabis to enjoy the “high feeling” or relaxation that comes with it without needing a doctor's recommendation or medical card.
The typical cannabis high is as a result of the psychoactive compound known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Therefore, recreational cannabis will likely have high amounts of THC, which causes euphoria, increased sensory perception, delayed perception of time, and increased appetite.
Cannabis strains with 10%- 30% THC are likely to trigger euphoria and are ideal for recreational use. On the other hand, hemp strains usually have less than 0.3% THC, so they cannot trigger euphoria. Unlike THC-rich cannabis, hemp is legal under federal law and widely available for purchase online and at hemp CBD stores.
Because THC alters one’s mental state, it is classified as a Schedule I substance under federal law, a schedule reserved for substances with no medicinal value and a high risk of abuse. This is what makes cannabis illegal under federal law.
Below is a rundown of states and U.S. territories that allow recreational cannabis use.
Recreational Cannabis States
Alaska became the fourth U.S. state to legalize recreational cannabis in 2014 through a ballot initiative. The possession and purchase limit is 1 ounce in public and 4 ounces in private.
The home grow rules allow up to 6 plants per person or 12 plants per household.
Arizona legalized recreational cannabis in November 2020. Adults can possess up to 1 ounce of flour and 5 grams of cannabis concentrate. They can grow up to 6 plants or 12 plants per household.
California legalized cannabis in 2016. Adults are allowed to possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower and 8 grams of concentrate. They are also allowed to grow six cannabis plants per household.
Colorado was the first state to legalize adult- use cannabis. Since 2014, they have succeeded in building a successful model for the recreational cannabis market.
The possession limit is 2 ounces of cannabis flower. The purchasing limit is 1 ounce of flower, 800mg of edibles, or 8 grams of concentrate. Adults are allowed to grow up to 6 plants per person or 12 plants per household for personal consumption.
Recreational cannabis became legal in Connecticut in July 2021. Adults can possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis on their person and no more than 5 ounces in their homes or locked in their car trunk or glove box.
Starting July 1, 2023, they can grow up to 6 plants (3 mature and 3 immature) in their home.
Guam legalized recreational cannabis use in April 2019. Adults can possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower, 8 grams of concentrate, or 800 grams of infused products. They can grow up to 6 plants (up to 3 mature plants) at home.
Illinois legalized recreational cannabis starting January 1, 2020. Residents can purchase up to 30 grams of flower, 5 grams of concentrate, 500 milligrams of THC in an infused product, while non-residents can have half of these limits.
Growing cannabis for recreational use is decriminalized. Residents who grow up to 5 plants per household are punishable with a $200 fine.
Recreational cannabis has been legal in Maine since 2016. Recreational users can possess up to 2.5 ounces of flower or no more than 5 grams of concentrate. They can grow up to 3 mature and 12 immature plants and unlimited seedlings.
Maryland voters approved a measure to legalize cannabis in November 2022. Adults will be able to use and possess cannabis on July 1, 2023.
Adults can possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis and/or 12 grams of cannabis concentrate. They can grow up to 2 plants at home.
Massachusetts legalized recreational cannabis in the 2016 general election. It took two years for recreational stores to be opened to allow users to access their cannabis easily.
Residents are allowed to possess 1 ounce of flower or 5 grams of concentrate at a time and up to 10 ounces in the home. They are allowed to cultivate up to 6 plants per person or 12 plants per household.
Michigan was the first Midwest state to legalize recreational cannabis in November 2018. However, it took longer than expected to get things streamlined.
The possession limit is set at 2.5 ounces of dried flower and up to 10 ounces in the home. Residents are allowed to cultivate 12 plants per household.
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Missouri voters passed an initiative to legalize adult-use cannabis in November 2022, and sales are expected to begin as early as February 6, 2023.
Residents can possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and grow up to 6 flowering plants, 6 immature plants, and 6 plants under 14 inches.
Montana legalized medical and recreational cannabis use in 2021 and sales began on January 1, 2022.
Adults can possess up to 1 ounce of flower and up to 8 grams of concentrate and grow up to 4 mature plants and 4 seedlings, with an 8-plant limit per household.
Nevada legalized marijuana in 2016 through a ballot vote. Adults can possess one ounce of cannabis flower or ⅛ ounce of concentrate.
They are allowed to grow six plants per person and 12 per household if no dispensaries are within 25 miles.
15. New Jersey
New Jersey legalized recreational cannabis use in 2020 and sales started in April 2022. Adults can possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis. No home cultivation is allowed.
17. New Mexico
Recreational cannabis was made legal in New Mexico in June 2021. Adults can possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis, 16 grams of concentrate, and 800 milligrams of edible cannabis.
They can grow up to 6 mature and 6 immature plants, with the maximum amount of 12 mature plants per household.
16. New York
Recreational cannabis was made legal in New York in 2021. Adult-use licenses are expected to be issued no sooner than spring 2023.
Adults can possess up to 3 ounces of flower and up to 24 grams of concentrate and up to 5 pounds of flower in their home. Residents may grow up to 6 cannabis plants (3 mature and 3 immature) or 12 plants per household.
18. Northern Mariana Islands
Recreational cannabis became legal in the Northern Mariana Islands in September 2018.
Adults can possess up to 1 ounce of flower, 16 oz of cannabis products in solid form, 5 grams of concentrate, 72 ounces of cannabis in liquid form, and 6 immature plants.
No more than 8 ounces of usable cannabis can be possessed per household.
Oregon was the third state to legalize cannabis in the 2014 general election. Residents can grow 4 plants per household for personal use.
Possession limits are set at up to 2 ounces of flower (8 ounces at home), 1 ounce of concentrate, 16 ounces of infused solids, 72 fluid ounces of infused liquids, and 10 seeds.
20. Rhode Island
Rhode Island lawmakers legalized cannabis in May 2022. Sales are expected to start in December 2022. Adults can possess up to 1 ounce of flower or 5 grams of concentrate or up to 10 ounces at home. They may grow up to six plants (3 mature and 3 immature).
Vermont legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, but sales didn’t start until late 2022. The possession limit is 1 ounce of flower or 5 grams of concentrate and residents are allowed to grow up to six plants (2 mature and 4 immature) per household.
Virginia’s State General Assembly legalized recreational cannabis in 2021. Retail sales are expected to begin on January 1, 2024.
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Adults can possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis in any form and grow up to 4 plants out of public view, not accessible by minors, and tagged with the grower’s name, driver's license number, and a note that says it's being grown for personal use.
The state of Washington was the second to legalize recreational cannabis in 2014, six months after In The Evergreen State, home cultivation is not allowed.
The possession and purchase limit for pot is set at 1 ounce of flower, 16 ounces of edibles, 72 ounces of topicals, or 7 grams of concentrate.
24. Washington D.C.
This is technically not a state. However, they have taken the bold step to legalize recreational cannabis.
The possession limit is set at 2 ounces of flower while the home grow rules allow adults to grow up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants per adult or a 12 plant limit per household.
Final Thoughts on Recreational Cannabis States
This wraps up our discussion on the states that have legalized cannabis so far. Legal cannabis is becoming more popular than ever.
Keep up with the latest cannabis rules and regulations by following the CTU cannabis industry blog or enrolling in our online-based Master of Cannabis Certification Program to elevate your cannabis career or business.