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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, and being 21 years of age minimum.
Below is a rundown of states and U.S. territories that allow recreational cannabis use (recreational cannabis states).
Recreational Cannabis States in the US (Adult-Use)
1. Alaska Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
2. Arizona Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
3. California Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
4. Colorado Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
You must be 21 or older and have a valid ID to buy and sell retail cannabis.
- Medical: Up to 2 oz flower
- Recreational: Up to 1 oz flower or its equivalent in concentrate or other product
- Medical: From caregiver to patient and at retail outlets
- Recreational: Can give away up to 2 oz and purchase at retail outlets
- Medical: 6 plants, up to 12 plants per household; If local law allows, patients and caregivers can grow up to 24 plants if registered with the MED and provide any required notice to the local jurisdictions.
- Recreational: 6 plants, up to 12 plants per household
- Public consumption: Petty drug offense
- Driving under the influence: DUI
- Possession of 2 to 12 oz of flower or 1 to 3 oz of concentrate: Misdemeanor
- Possession of more than 12 oz of flower or 3 oz of concentrate: Felony
- Sale or distribution of less than 4 oz of flower or 2 oz of concentrate: Misdemeanor
- Sale or distribution of more than 4 oz or to a minor: Felony
- Cultivation of more than 12 plants: Petty drug offense
- Cultivation, second offense: Misdemeanor
- Cultivation of more than 24 plants: Felony
Where Can I Use Cannabis in Colorado?
Public cannabis use (smoking, vaping, or eating) is prohibited. Since cannabis is still federally illegal, cannabis consumption on federal land, including national forests and parks, is illegal.
The only place you can consume cannabis is on private property. Remember that property owners can ban cannabis use and possession on their property. For example, an apartment or hotel owner can ban cannabis possession and use on their property.
Before moving into an apartment or staying in a hotel room in Colorado, research their policies on cannabis use.
Hours of Operation in Colorado Cannabis Businesses
Retail cannabis businesses can open only between 8 a.m. and midnight. However, municipalities can limit the hours of operation.
Edible Packaging Requirements in Colorado
When you buy cannabis from retail or medical cannabis businesses, it must come packaged in a resealable, child-resistant, and opaque container.
Labeling Requirements Colorado Cannabis Industry
The Department of Revenue requires retail cannabis products to use the THC warning symbol on packaging to prevent kids and adults from unintentionally consuming the product.
Cannabis Taxes in Colorado
You must pay a 15% retail sales tax when purchasing cannabis. A 15% excise task is added to the wholesale price of retail cannabis, which cultivators and businesses must pay. Medical cannabis does not require these taxes.
Adults in Colorado can grow up to six plants (up to 3 flowering plants) in their own homes for personal use. However, counties and municipalities can adopt stricter regulations. For example, Denver limits 12 plants per household regardless of the number of adults living there.
Cannabis plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked area that is not visible to the public view. This means you can't grow outdoor cannabis. If minors under 21 live in the residence, the cannabis grow area must be in a separate space that minors can't access.
Driving and Traveling With Weed in Colorado
Consuming cannabis before driving can land you a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. Under state law, drivers with 5 nanograms of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of whole blood can be charged with a DUI.
If you have an open cannabis container in a vehicle and it looks like the product has been consumed, you may be charged with a traffic offense, even if the car is not moving.
If you are visiting Colorado or intend to travel outside the state, remember that leaving the state with cannabis products is prohibited. In addition, you can't bring cannabis to Denver International Airport or any airport in the state.
Can I Work in the Colorado Cannabis Industry?
If you want to find a cannabis job in the Colorado cannabis industry, you must be 21 or older, be a resident of Colorado, and pass a criminal background check.
5. Connecticut Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
6. Guam Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
7. Illinois Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
8. Maine Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
9. Maryland Recreational Cannabis Laws
Maryland voters approved a measure to legalize cannabis in November 2022. On July 1, 2023 adults in Maryland can now use, purchase and possess cannabis.
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.
10. Massachusetts Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
11. Michigan Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
13. Minnesota Recreational Cannabis Laws
Effective Aug. 1, 2023, full decriminalization allows the possession, use, and home grow of cannabis in Minnesota for people 21 and older.
12. Missouri Recreational Cannabis Laws
Missouri voters passed an initiative to legalize adult-use cannabis in November 2022, and sales started on 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.
13. Montana Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
14. Nevada Recreational Cannabis Laws
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 cannabis plants per person and 12 per household if no dispensaries are within 25 miles.
15. New Jersey Recreational Cannabis Laws
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 Laws
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 Laws
Recreational cannabis was made legal in New York in 2021. Adult-use licenses were issued in 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 Laws
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.
19. Ohio Recreational Laws
Ohio became an adult-use state in 2023. The state is still in limbo. Adults 21 and older can grow and possess cannabis but cannot buy it quite yet.
If nothing changes, dispensaries should be able to start selling adult-use cannabis in September or October of this year.
20. Oregon Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
21. Rhode Island Recreational Cannabis Laws
Rhode Island lawmakers legalized cannabis in May 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).
22. Vermont Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
23. Virgina Recreational Cannabis Laws
Virginia’s State General Assembly legalized recreational cannabis in 2021.
Lawmakers have reached a compromise to start selling adult-use cannabis in May of 2025. Licensing and permit processes will start in September of this year.
Under the bill the state can have up t0 350 cannabis retail stores and 100 processing facilities.
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.
24. Washington Recreational Cannabis Laws
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.
25. Washington D.C. Recreational Cannabis Laws
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
As of Q1 of 2024, recreational cannabis is legal in 24 states and the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. These recreational cannabis states are:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
This wraps up our discussion on the states that have legalized cannabis so far. Legal cannabis is becoming more popular than ever. Recreational cannabis states and laws are always changing, make sure to check with your local cannabis laws.
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.
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Fred Hernandez is a highly accomplished and versatile writer, boasting an extensive background in the cannabis industry. With an in-depth understanding of various sectors including cultivators, processors, retailers, and brands, Fred's expertise spans across the entire cannabis landscape. As a prominent contributor to CTU, he consistently delivers insightful articles exploring the latest developments, news, and regulations shaping the cannabis industry. Whether it's delving into the intricacies of cannabis products, cannabis strain reviews, or providing comprehensive analyses of cannabis laws, or sharing expert insights on cannabis cultivation techniques, Fred's wealth of knowledge positions him as an invaluable writer and educator for all cannabis-related subjects.