Marijuana is a topic of heated debate, with one of the core issues being legality and the possible positive and negative consequences of it. Marijuana’s legality can be quite confusing to understand at first. Currently, at a federal level, marijuana is illegal. This means possession, sale, cultivation, and transportation of marijuana are all illegal federally. However, individual states can and have passed laws regarding marijuana: its legality, availability, limits, growth, sales, and users.
There are currently six categories that cover how each state handles marijuana laws at this time:
- Legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational use
- Medical and decriminalization laws
- Decriminalized marijuana possession laws
- Legal psychoactive medical marijuana
- Legal non-psychoactive medical marijuana
- Marijuana prohibition
How many states have legalized weed?
Currently there are four states that have completely legalized marijuana: Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon. This means that people over the age of 21 can purchase marijuana from legalized dispensaries for recreational use or for medical use. All of these states heavily tax the sale of marijuana products, just like alcohol and cigarettes. That money goes towards improving the quality of life in their state. Colorado is a great example of how legal marijuana can positively impact its residents.
The 11 states below are strong candidates for being the next fully legalized marijuana state. These states have both medical and decriminalization laws set in place which can be viewed as a good indicator for potential adult use legalization. They have already made steps towards legalization, and with continued support they will achieve their goals: California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi (only legal non-psychoactive medical marijuana), Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
The most likely state to legalize marijuana next? Many say it’s Maine. In 2016 there will be a statewide vote on legalizing marijuana completely in the state. Currently, Portland (Maine’s largest city) and South Portland have legalized marijuana both medically and recreationally.
Read more about legalization across the nation, and the world: