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The Farm Bill, hemp legalization and the status of CBD: An explainer

This week, Congress agreed to the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill, and President Trump is expected to sign the legislation within days. But this is not your typical farm bill. While it provides important agricultural and nutritional policy extensions for five years, the most interesting changes involve the cannabis plant. Typically, cannabis is not part of the conversation around farm subsidies, nutritional assistance, and crop insurance. Yet, this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s strong support of and leadership on the issue of hemp has thrust the cannabis plant into the limelight.

For a little bit of background, hemp is defined in the legislation as the cannabis plant (yes, the same one that produces marijuana) with one key difference: hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent of THC (the compound in the plant most commonly associated with getting a person high). In short, hemp can’t get you high. For decades, federal law did not differentiate hemp from other cannabis plants, all of which were effectively made illegal in 1937 under the Marihuana Tax Act and formally made illegal in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act—the latter banned cannabis of any kind.

It’s true that hemp policy in the United States has been drastically transformed by this new legislation. However, there remain some misconceptions about what, exactly, this policy change does.

Hemp is legal in the United States—with serious restrictions

The allowed pilot programs to study hemp (often labeled “industrial hemp”) that were approved by both the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and state departments of agriculture. This allowed small-scale expansion of hemp cultivation for limited purposes. The 2018 Farm Bill is more expansive. It allows hemp cultivation broadly, not simply pilot programs for studying market interest in hemp-derived products. It explicitly allows the transfer of hemp-derived products across state lines for commercial or other purposes. It also puts no restrictions on the sale, transport, or possession of hemp-derived products, so long as those items are produced in a manner consistent with the law.

However, the new Farm Bill does not create a completely free system in which individuals or businesses can grow hemp whenever and wherever they want. There are numerous restrictions.

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First, as noted above, hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC, per section 10113 of the Farm Bill. Any cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3 percent THC would be considered non-hemp cannabis—or marijuana—under federal law and would thus face no legal protection under this new legislation.

Second, there will be significant, shared state-federal regulatory power over hemp cultivation and production. Under section 10113 of the Farm Bill, state departments of agriculture must consult with the state’s governor and chief law enforcement officer to devise a plan that must be submitted to the Secretary of USDA. A state’s plan to license and regulate hemp can only commence once the Secretary of USDA approves that state’s plan. In states opting not to devise a hemp regulatory program, USDA will construct a regulatory program under which hemp cultivators in those states must apply for licenses and comply with a federally-run program. This system of shared regulatory programming is similar to options states had in other policy areas such as health insurance marketplaces under ACA, or workplace safety plans under OSHA—both of which had federally-run systems for states opting not to set up their own systems.

Third, the law outlines actions that are considered violations of federal hemp law (including such activities as cultivating without a license or producing cannabis with more than 0.3 percent THC). The law details possible punishments for such violations, pathways for violators to become compliant, and even which activities qualify as felonies under the law, such as repeated offenses.

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Ultimately, the Farm Bill legalizes hemp, but it doesn’t create a system in which people can grow it as freely as they can grow tomatoes or basil. This will be a highly regulated crop in the United States for both personal and industrial production.

Hemp research remains important

One of the goals of the 2014 Farm Bill was to generate and protect research into hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill continues this effort. Section 7605 re-extends the protections for hemp research and the conditions under which such research can and should be conducted. Further, section 7501 of the Farm Bill extends hemp research by including hemp under the Critical Agricultural Materials Act. This provision recognizes the importance, diversity, and opportunity of the plant and the products that can be derived from it, but also recognizes an important point: there is a still a lot to learn about hemp and its products from commercial and market perspectives. Yes, farmers—legal and illegal—already know a lot about this plant, but more can and should be done to make sure that hemp as an agricultural commodity remains stable.

John Hudak

Deputy Director – Center for Effective Public Management

Senior Fellow – Governance Studies

Hemp farmers are treated like other farmers

Under the 2018 Farm Bill hemp is treated like other agricultural commodities in many ways. This is an important point. While there are provisions that heavily regulate hemp, and concerns exist among law enforcement—rightly or wrongly—that cannabis plants used to derive marijuana will be comingled with hemp plants, this legislation makes hemp a mainstream crop. Several provisions of the Farm Bill include changes to existing provisions of agricultural law to include hemp. One of the most important provisions from the perspective of hemp farmers lies in section 11101. This section includes hemp farmers’ protections under the Federal Crop Insurance Act. This will assist farmers who, in the normal course of agricultural production, face crop termination (crop losses). As the climate changes and as farmers get used to growing this “new” product, these protections will be important.

Cannabidiol or CBD is made legal—under specific circumstances

One big myth that exists about the Farm Bill is that cannabidiol (CBD)—a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis—is legalized. It is true that section 12619 of the Farm Bill removes hemp-derived products from its Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act, but the legislation does not legalize CBD generally. As I have noted elsewhere on this blog CBD generally remains a Schedule I substance under federal law. The Farm Bill—and an unrelated, recent action by the Department of Justice—creates exceptions to this Schedule I status in certain situations. The Farm Bill ensures that any cannabinoid—a set of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant—that is derived from hemp will be legal, if and only if that hemp is produced in a manner consistent with the Farm Bill, associated federal regulations, association state regulations, and by a licensed grower. All other cannabinoids, produced in any other setting, remain a Schedule I substance under federal law and are thus illegal. (The one exception is pharmaceutical-grade CBD products that have been approved by FDA, which currently includes one drug: GW Pharmaceutical’s Epidiolex.)

There is one additional gray area of research moving forward. Under current law, any cannabis-based research conducted in the United States must use research-grade cannabis from the nation’s sole provider of the product: the Marijuana Program at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research. That setup exists because of cannabis’s Schedule I status.[1] However, if hemp-derived CBD is no longer listed on the federal schedules, it will raise questions among medical and scientific researchers studying CBD products and their effects, as to whether they are required to get their products from Mississippi. This will likely require additional guidance from FDA (the Food and Drug Administration who oversees drug trials), DEA (the Drug Enforcement Administration who mandates that research-grade cannabis be sourced from Mississippi), and NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse who administers the contract to cultivate research-grade cannabis) to help ensure researchers do not inadvertently operate out of compliance.

State-legal cannabis programs are still illegal under federal law

The Farm Bill has no effect on state-legal cannabis programs. Over the past 22 years, 33 states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes, and over the past six years, 10 states have legalized cannabis for adult use. Every one of those programs is illegal under federal law, with no exceptions, and the Farm Bill does nothing to change that. That said, many in the advocacy community hope that the reforms to hemp policy under the Farm Bill serve as a first step toward broader cannabis reform. (Although I would argue that a soon-to-be-sworn-in Democratic House majority alongside a president with a record of pro-cannabis reform rhetoric is the more likely foundation for broader cannabis reform.)

Even CBD products produced by state-legal, medical, or adult-use cannabis programs are illegal products under federal law, both within states and across state lines. This legal reality is an important distinction for consumer protection. There are numerous myths about the legality of CBD products and their availability. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, there will be more broadly available, legal, CBD products; however, this does not mean that all CBD products are legal moving forward. Knowing your producer and whether they are legal and legitimate will be an important part of consumer research in a post-2018 Farm Bill world.

Mitch McConnell, cannabis champion?

Many advocates applaud Leader McConnell for his stewardship of these hemp provisions into the Farm Bill and his leadership on the legislation overall. That assessment is accurate. Without Mr. McConnell’s efforts, the hemp provisions would never had found their way into the legislation initially. And although his position as Senate leader gave him tremendous institutional influence over the legislation, he went a step further by appointing himself to the conference committee that would bring the House and Senate together to agree on a final version.

McConnell understood much about this issue. First, he knows hemp doesn’t get you high and that the drug war debate that swept up hemp was politically motivated, rather than policy-oriented. Second, Kentucky—the leader’s home state—is one of the best places to cultivate hemp in the world, and pre-prohibition the state had a robust hemp sector. Third, the grassroots interest in this issue was growing in Kentucky, and McConnell knows that his role as Senate Majority Leader hangs in the balance in 2020, as does his Senate seat as he faces re-election that same year. McConnell emerges from the Farm Bill as a hemp hero, but advocates should be hesitant to label him a cannabis champion; Leader McConnell remains a staunch opponent of marijuana reform and his role in the Senate could be the roadblock of Democratic-passed legislation in the 116 th Congress.

[1] Under the Controlled Substances Act, all controlled drugs fall under five schedules. Schedule I has the highest level of control, designated a substance as having no safe medical use and has a high risk of abuse or misuse. Schedule I substances are illegal under the law.

Marijuana Laws by State

Ward Williams is an Associate Editor with over four years of professional editing, proofreading, and writing experience. Ward is also an expert on government and policy as well as company profiles. He received his B.A. in English from North Carolina State University and his M.S. in publishing from New York University.

Suzanne is a researcher, writer, and fact-checker. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance degree from Bridgewater State University and has worked on print content for business owners, national brands, and major publications.

Cannabis has a lengthy and complicated history in the United States, to say the least. The use, sale, and possession of cannabis are currently illegal under federal law. However, individual states have enacted their own laws that often contradict the federal position.

In fact, the states that outlaw even medical marijuana use are far outnumbered by those in which the opposite is true. For some people, it may feel like cannabis use has been effectively normalized. However, even states where marijuana is fully legal have different policies regarding accessibility, criminalization, and sale. Plus, because of the federal laws outlawing cannabis, banking for those businesses in this industry remains a sticky issue.

Key Takeaways

  • Marijuana is legal for use in some form in 37 states and the District of Columbia as of April 2022.
  • Under U.S. federal law, marijuana is classified under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I drug as it has the potential for abuse with no accepted medical use.
  • Any marijuana product with 0.3% or more THC is still technically illegal within the United States.
  • When providing financial services to marijuana businesses, banks and institutions have to consider compliance costs, legal costs, logistical costs, educational costs, and reputational costs.

Marijuana Legalization in the U.S.

Prior to its use in the U.S. as a recreational substance, hemp crops were grown for industrial use during early American history—even by George Washington. However, the passage of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act ultimately spelled the end of the hemp industry in the U.S.

By 1970, the Controlled Substances Act classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which means that it is considered to have “high abuse potential with no accepted medical use” under federal law. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 removed certain cannabis products (including hemp) from the Controlled Substances Act, making them legal to produce and market. But anything with 0.3% or more delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is still considered illegal at the federal level.

In spite of this, several state and local governments passed their own laws to allow the use of marijuana products, though some restrictions may apply.

Marijuana Businesses and Banking

A cannabis dispensary is a location regulated by the local government where marijuana-based products may be purchased. Even if it is illegal to sell recreational marijuana in a particular state, licensed dispensaries still can. This is particularly applicable in states with legalized medical marijuana. Also, these locations shouldn’t be confused with head shops, as only paraphernalia can be purchased in those retail outlets.

Getting licensed to become a dispensary in any state is often expensive, and ensuring you stay in legal compliance with local regulations is complicated because the rules change over time. They often require background checks for owners, employees, and investors. For anyone thinking of starting a dispensary, it is essential to perform a ton of research on existing and hypothetical laws, track down compliant rental properties, and potentially grow the actual product yourself.

There’s another complicating factor to this risky business. Financing options are limited. The current federal laws surrounding marijuana make it difficult for most cannabis businesses to secure financing and to find a bank to take their business. Federally-insured credit unions and banks take significant risks if they choose to work with marijuana companies, even if the substance is legal under local law. Financial transactions involving proceeds from marijuana sales could result in prosecution under money laundering statutes, unlicensed money transmitter statutes, or the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

Despite the risk, our research shows that approximately 715 banks and credit unions work with cannabis businesses. Numerica was one of the first financial institutions to offer its services to the marijuana industry, in 2014. Other credit unions, such as Salal, Partner Colorado, and MAPS, followed soon after. Outside of credit unions, Timberland is another example of a bank that works with the cannabis industry.

When providing financial services to marijuana businesses, there are five key costs that banks and credit unions have to keep in mind:

  • Compliance costs: Constantly changing regulatory and legislative policies make it difficult for even the most scrupulous of cannabis-related companies to operate totally on the level. As such, financial institutions have to invest a lot of time and money to ensure that their partners aren’t engaged in anything potentially illegal, intentionally or not.
  • Legal costs: Beyond financial liability for the actions of their partners, banks and credit unions must consider hiring legal counsel for consulting, in-house compliance management, and handling the often protracted proceedings resulting from lawsuits.
  • Educational costs: Given that this is a relatively new field, hiring outside help to ensure employees understand the intricacies of the marijuana industry can mean the difference between paying a little at the outset versus paying a lot down the road.
  • Logistical costs: An almost entirely cash-based business model comes with a lot of risks and complications, ranging from needing to hire additional security to being forced to work with expensive vendors.
  • Reputational costs: Even if marijuana is legal in a state, the financial institutions that choose to work with cannabis-related businesses are likely to still face criticism from their partners or members who disapprove of the substance’s use as a recreational substance or who disapprove because of federal legal concerns.
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Introduced in 2019, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act could be the silver bullet solution to the difficulties that discourage most banks and credit unions from doing business with the cannabis industry, according to its supporters. The bill is designed to prevent “. a federal banking regulator from penalizing a depository institution for providing banking services to a legitimate marijuana-related business.” The bill received the two-thirds majority vote required to pass the House in September 2019.

The bill then moved on to Senate for consideration, where progress has essentially stalled. In addition to facing an unfriendly Republican majority, Senate Banking Committee Chair, Mike Crap, proved to be more interested in introducing his own legislation to address marijuana banking concerns—specifically something that would provide more protection for hemp and CBD businesses as well as ban high-THC vapes and certain edibles.

Marijuana Laws in Each State

Alabama Marijuana Laws: Medical

Marijuana is legal for medical purposes in Alabama. This includes CBD products that are made from hemp with less than 0.3% THC. The southern state signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana in February 2021 following an initial 20-10 vote in the Senate and a 68-34 vote in the House. The state’s governor signed the bill in May 2021.

Individuals are protected provided they have a valid prescription for medical marijuana. It also established Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, which oversees membership, provides patient certification for medical marijuana, and licenses and regulates cannabis cultivation among other things.

The debate is still on about the recreational use of the drug. As such, it is still illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Alabama for recreational purposes. While first-time possession is only considered a misdemeanor, being caught a second time with the substance results in a felony charge. The sale and delivery of marijuana are considered a felony.

Alaska Marijuana Laws: Legalized

Alaska was the second state in the U.S. to adopt decriminalization. It has been legal to possess, use, or cultivate marijuana in Alaska for both medical and recreational purposes since 1998 and 2014, respectively. However, these actions will result in a felony charge if they are not performed within the individual’s private residence.

Residents may posses up to one ounce for either medical or recreational use. Possession of four or more ounces of cannabis is still considered a felony. The sale and delivery of marijuana is only illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities. Citizens may grow up to six marijuana plants (no more than three mature) for non-commercial purposes.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Nausea

Arizona Marijuana Laws: Legalized

In 2020, Arizona residents voted to legalize the possession and cultivation of marijuana for recreational purposes, in addition enabling the establishment of a retail cannabis market. It has been legal for medical purposes since 2011.

Residents may posses up to one ounce recreational use. Possession of between one to 2.5 ounces of cannabis is a misdemeanor, while more than 2.5 ounces is considered a felony. The sale and delivery of marijuana is only illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities. Citizens may grow no more than three marijuana plants for non-commercial purposes.

If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire up to two and one-half ounces of usable marijuana within a 14-day period. They may also cultivate up to 12 cannabis plants if they live more than 25 miles from a state-licensed dispensary facility.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Nausea
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Seizures
  • Severe or chronic pain

Arkansas Marijuana Laws: Medical

It is a felony to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Arkansas for recreational purposes. Additionally, first-time possession is only considered a misdemeanor, though only less than four ounces. Subsequent possession charges will result in a doubled penalty.

Cannabis has, however, been legal for medical purposes since 2016. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire an unspecified amount of usable marijuana. Home cultivation, however, isn’t permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • ALS
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic or debilitating disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Intractable pain
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • PTSD
  • Seizures
  • Severe arthritis
  • Severe nausea
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Any medical condition or its treatment approved by the Department of Health

California Marijuana Laws: Legalized

It has been legal to possess, use, and purchase marijuana in California for both medical and recreational purposes since 1996 and 2016, respectively. Possession of one ounce or more for recreational use is a misdemeanor. The sale and delivery of marijuana is also a misdemeanor outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities unless it’s in the form of a gift of 28.5 grams or less. Citizens may still grow up to six marijuana plants for recreational purposes. California also has an automatic expungement process for prior marijuana convictions that have since been decriminalized.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Anorexia
  • Arthritis
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Glaucoma
  • Migraine
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Severe nausea
  • Physicians may recommend medical marijuana for other illnesses

In 2020, California signed a bill protecting banks that do business with cannabis dispensaries and other related companies. AB 1525 makes it possible for institutions and accountants to conduct financial transactions. It also protects armored car services from fines and penalties that take part in these transactions as well. Prior to the signing of the bill, any institution that conducted financial transactions for these businesses faced fines and other penalties.

Colorado Marijuana Laws: Legalized

It has been legal to possess, use, purchase, sell, and cultivate marijuana in Colorado for medical and recreational purposes since 2001 and 2012, respectively. However, possession of more than one ounce still carries a penalty, with larger amounts ranging from petty offenses to felonies. The sale and delivery of marijuana is only illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities. Residents may also cultivate up to six cannabis plants (no more than three mature) for non-commercial purposes. Colorado also has an expungement process for prior marijuana convictions that have since been decriminalized.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Any “condition for which a physician could prescribe an opioid”
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic nervous system disorders
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Nausea
  • Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome

Approximately 35 banks are already partnering with cannabis businesses in Colorado. Governor Jared Polis worked to raise that number by a further 20% throughout 2020.

Connecticut Marijuana Laws: Legalized

Cannabis has been legal for medical purposes in Connecticut since 2012. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire a “one-month supply” of usable marijuana. Home cultivation, however, isn’t permitted. This equals 3.5 ounces per patient per month.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Chronic neuropathic pain associated with degenerative spinal disorders
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Hydrocephalus
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Intractable headache syndromes
  • Intractable neuropathic pain that Is unresponsive to standard medical treatments
  • Intractable Spasticity
  • Irreversible spinal cord injury with an objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  • Medial Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS Syndrome)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Neuropathic facial pain
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post Herpetic Neuralgia
  • Post-surgical back pain with a condition called Chronic Radiculopathy
  • Post Laminectomy Syndrome
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis
  • Severe rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Spasticity
  • Terminal illness requiring end-of-life care
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Uncontrolled Intractable Seizure Disorder
  • Vulvodynia and Vulvar Burning
  • Other medical conditions may be approved by the Department of Consumer Protection

All adults will be able to grow three mature and three immature plants at home as of July 1, 2023, something which medical marijuana patients have been able to do since October 2021.

Connecticut legalized recreational marijuana with the passage of SB 1201 in July 2021. As such, residents can carry 1.5 ounces without any fines or penalties. Retail sales will likely be available at the end of 2022. Growing pot for recreational purposes isn’t legal.

Delaware Marijuana Laws: Medical and Decriminalized

Although recreational marijuana is still illegal, the state decriminalized low-level possession in 2019. This move came four years after the state amended prior penalties for possessing one ounce or less to civil penalties. Possessing more than 175 grams is considered a felony, as is the sale and delivery of any amount.

Two new bills were introduced in March 2022. The first calls for the legalization of cannabis up to one ounce for people 21 and over. Another bill calls for the regulation and taxation of adult-use sales.

Cannabis has been legal for medical purposes in Delaware since 2011. Qualifying residents may acquire up to six ounces of usable marijuana. Like in Connecticut, home cultivation isn’t permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain (that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures for more than three months)
  • Cirrhosis
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Intractable epilepsy
  • Migraine
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Nausea
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

District of Columbia Marijuana Laws: Legalized

It has been legal to possess and use marijuana in the District of Columbia for both medical and recreational purposes since 2010 and 2015, respectively. However, these actions will result in a misdemeanor charge if they are not carried out within the individual’s private residence or if the amount in question is more than two ounces. It is still illegal to sell marijuana, but transfers without payment of up to one ounce are permitted. Citizens may grow up to six marijuana plants (no more than three mature) for recreational purposes.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Any other condition that is “chronic or long-lasting; debilitating; serious medical condition treatable with marijuana.”

Florida Marijuana Laws: Medical

It is a felony to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Florida for recreational purposes. However, possession or sale of no more than 20 grams is only a misdemeanor.

Cannabis has been legal for medical purposes since 2016. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire up to four ounces of usable marijuana. Home cultivation, however, is not permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Chronic nonmalignant pain
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Terminal illness (patients diagnosed with no more than 12-months to live)
  • Other debilitating medical conditions comparable to those enumerated

Earlier this year, the Availability of Marijuana for Adult Use bill was introduced in the Florida Senate, which would have legalized and regulated marijuana within the state. However, the legislature adjourned its session in March before any further action could be taken.

Georgia Marijuana Laws: Medical (CBD)

It is a felony to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Georgia for either medical or recreational purposes. However, possession of no more than one ounce is only a misdemeanor.

Although marijuana can’t be prescribed for medical purposes in Georgia, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD to treat qualifying conditions since 2015, though only if it contains less than 5% THC.

Hawaii Marijuana Laws: Medical

Hawaii was actually the first state to approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes, back in 2000. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire up to four ounces of usable marijuana. Citizens may also grow up to seven marijuana plants for medical purposes. In February 2022, a state senate committee approved a bill that would allow people 65 and older to access cannabis for medical use even if they don’t have a qualifying medical condition.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Lupus
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Nausea
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Despite all of this, it is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Hawaii for recreational purposes. Possessing three ounces to one pound equates to a misdemeanor, while anything more than a pound is considered a felony. As of Jan. 2020, possessing less than three ounces of cannabis is only a minor violation. Sale or delivery of any amount greater than one ounce will result in a felony charge.

Hawaii-based institutions have proven unwilling to provide financial services to medical marijuana dispensaries. But a Colorado credit union agreed to (temporarily) shoulder the responsibility for them. By signing up for the debit mobile app CanPay, a qualifying resident can receive QR codes that link to their checking account for the purpose of payment. This is the first cashless system for cannabis commerce in the U.S.

Idaho Marijuana Laws: Medical (CBD)

It is a felony to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Idaho for recreational purposes. However, possession of no more than three ounces is only a misdemeanor.

Although marijuana can’t be prescribed for medical purposes in Idaho, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD to treat qualifying conditions since 2015, though only if it contains absolutely no trace of THC.

Illinois Marijuana Laws: Legalized

Medical and recreational marijuana use is legal in Illinois. Medical marijuana laws were enacted by the state in 2014 while recreational use was permitted as of January 2020, after the state signed a law in 2019. Under this new law, adults 21 and over can possess a maximum of 30 grams of pot and five grams of concentrate. Non-residents can possess 15 grams of cannabis flower and 2.5 grams of cannabis.

Possession of more than 30 grams of cannabis is considered a misdemeanor for first-time offenders, with repeat offenders receiving felony charges. The sale and delivery of marijuana are only illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities. Citizens may grow up to five marijuana plants for medical purposes only. Illinois is also the first state to adopt a regulatory system for cultivating, testing, and selling cannabis through the state legislature.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • “Any medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed by a physician based on generally accepted standards of care”
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Arnold Chiari Malformation
  • Autism
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Causalgia
  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
  • Chronic pain
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 2
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Dystonia
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Fibrous dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hydromyelia
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myoclonus
  • Nail Patella Syndrome
  • Neuro-Behcet’s Autoimmune Disease
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Spinal cord disease
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
  • Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome
  • Syringomyelia
  • Tarlov Cysts
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Indiana Marijuana Laws: Medical (CBD)

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Indiana for medical or recreational purposes. Possessing any amount is only a misdemeanor for first-time offenders, while subsequent drug offenses and possessing more than 30 grams will result in a felony charge. Sale and delivery of more than 30 grams is also a felony.

Although marijuana can’t be prescribed for medical purposes in Indiana, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD both for treating qualifying conditions and recreational purposes since 2017 and 2018, respectively, though only if it contains no more than 0.3% THC.

Iowa Marijuana Laws: Medical (CBD)

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Iowa for either medical or recreational purposes. Possession of any amount of cannabis is only considered a misdemeanor, while sale and delivery will result in a felony charge.

Although marijuana can’t be prescribed for medical purposes in Iowa, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD to treat qualifying conditions since 2014, though only if it contains no more than 3% THC.

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Earlier this year, HF 2589 was passed in the Iowa House of Representatives, which would have replaced the 3% THC potency cap with a purchasing limit of 4.5 grams of cannabis for medical purposes. However, the legislative session was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning the Senate was unable to act on the bill.

Kansas Marijuana Laws: Legalized (CBD)

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Kansas for either medical or recreational purposes. Possession of any amount, without the intent to distribute, is only a misdemeanor. The sale and delivery of cannabis, however, is considered a felony.

Although marijuana can’t be prescribed for medical purposes in Kansas, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD both for recreational purposes and for treating qualifying conditions since 2018 and 2019, respectively. Medicinal CBD cannot have more than 5% THC, while recreational CBD must have absolutely no trace of it.

Kentucky Marijuana Laws: Medical (CBD)

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Kentucky for either medical or recreational purposes. While possession of fewer than eight ounces is only a misdemeanor, larger amounts will be treated as “prima facie evidence” that there is also an intent to sell, resulting in a felony charge. Sale and delivery will also be treated as a felony unless less than eight ounces are sold by a first-time offender. Cultivation works much the same way, with first-time offenders growing less than five plants only receiving a misdemeanor charge.

Although marijuana can’t be prescribed for medical purposes in Kentucky, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD to treat qualifying conditions since 2014, though only if it contains less than 0.3% THC.

The Kentucky House of Representatives passed HB 136 in March 2022. This bill would permit the sale and purchase of cannabis for medical purposes within the state. However, the Senate’s primary focus was on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in the 2020 session adjourning before it could be voted on.

Louisiana Marijuana Laws: Medical

Louisiana decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana as of June 2021. The penalty for possession of up to 14 grams was dropped down to a fine of $100. Distribution and transportation are still considered felonies.

Cannabis has been legal for medical purposes since 2016. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire a “30-day supply” of usable marijuana. Home cultivation, however, is not permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Intractable pain (defined as “pain so chronic or severe as to otherwise warrant an opiate prescription”)
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Maine Marijuana Laws: Legalized

It has been legal to possess, use, and cultivate marijuana in Maine for both medical and recreational purposes since 1999 and 2016, respectively. However, possession of more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis, or any amount outside of one’s private residence, is still a crime. The sale and delivery of marijuana is only illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities. Maine residents are permitted to grow up to three marijuana plants for recreational use, while those with qualifying medical conditions may grow up to six plants.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Nausea
  • Nail-Patella Syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Maryland Marijuana Laws: Medical and Decriminalized

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Maryland for recreational purposes. Possession of fewer than 10 grams is only a civil offense, any amount between 10 grams and 50 pounds is a misdemeanor, and 50 pounds or higher is a felony. Maryland also has an expungement process for prior marijuana convictions that have since been decriminalized.

Cannabis has been legal for medical purposes since 2014. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire a “30-day supply” of usable marijuana. Home cultivation, however, is not permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Anorexia
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Chronic pain
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms

Massachusetts Marijuana Laws: Legalized

It has been legal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Massachusetts for both medical and recreational purposes since 2013 and 2018, respectively. Residents of Massachusetts are only permitted to possess up to one ounce of cannabis on their person, though they may possess up to 10 ounces so long as it is secured with a lock within their primary residence.

The sale and delivery of marijuana are only illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities. Massachusetts residents are permitted to grow up to six marijuana plants for non-commercial use.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Hepatitis C
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician

Michigan Marijuana Laws: Legalized

It has been legal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Michigan for both medical and recreational purposes since 2008 and 2018, respectively. Residents of Michigan are permitted to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis on their person, or up to 10 ounces in their place of residence.

The sale and delivery of marijuana are only illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities. Michigan residents are permitted to grow no more than 12 marijuana plants for non-commercial use.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Arthritis
  • Autism
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Colitis
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Hepatitis C
  • Nail Patella
  • Nausea
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Seizures
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Minnesota Marijuana Laws: Medical and Decriminalized

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Minnesota for recreational purposes. While possession of no more than 42.5 grams is only a misdemeanor, possessing larger amounts will result in a felony charge. The sale and delivery of cannabis work in much the same way, with 42.5 grams resulting in a misdemeanor, compared to larger sales being treated as felonies. Minnesota has partially decriminalized certain marijuana possession offenses.

Marijuana has been legal in Minnesota for medical purposes since 2014. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire a “30-day supply” of usable marijuana, though they can only utilize non-smokable preparations. Home cultivation, however, isn’t permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Age-related Macular Degeneration
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Autism
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Intractable pain
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Seizures
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Terminal illness
  • Tourette’s Syndrome

In May 2020, legislation was introduced to the Minnesota House of Representatives that would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. The HF 4632 bill didn’t pass in 2020, due to the legislature prioritizing the coronavirus pandemic and a general opposition by the Senate.

Mississippi Marijuana Laws: Medical and Decriminalized

Mississippi decriminalized marijuana. Possession of 30 grams or less incurs a $250 fine for first-time offenders. Subsequent offenses will result in a misdemeanor charge. Possessing larger amounts of cannabis will be treated as a felony. Sale and delivery is always a felony, regardless of the quantity. Mississippi has decriminalized marijuana to a limited degree.

In 2020, Mississippi residents voted to legalize cannabis for medical purposes. The bill was signed in February 2022, making Mississippi the 37th state to legalize medical pot. Additionally, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD to treat intractable epilepsy since 2014, though only if it contains less than 0.5% THC.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Autism (with aggressive behaviors)
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Dementia-related agitation
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Intractable nausea
  • Intractable seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Neuropathies (chronic nerve pain)
  • Opioid management
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Terminal illness
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Missouri Marijuana Laws: Medical and Decriminalized

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Missouri for recreational purposes. Possession of up to 35 grams is considered a misdemeanor, while larger amounts will result in a felony charge. Sale and delivery is always a felony, regardless of the quantity. Missouri has partially decriminalized certain marijuana possession offenses.

Although medical marijuana was legalized in Missouri in 2018, the programs are not yet operational. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they will be able to acquire up to four ounces of usable marijuana within a 30-day period. Qualifying residents will be permitted to grow up to six plants for medical purposes.

Conditions that will qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Any “chronic, debilitating or other medical condition” that may be alleviated by marijuana “in the professional judgment of a physician”
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Autism
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Chronic pain or neuropathy
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • IBS
  • Intractable migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Opioid substitution
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) or other “debilitating psychiatric disorders”
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Terminal illness
  • Tourette Syndrome

Montana Marijuana Laws: Legalized

In 2020, Montana residents voted to legalize the possession and cultivation of marijuana for recreational purposes, in addition to enabling the establishment of a retail cannabis market. Cannabis has been legal in Montana for medical purposes since 2004. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire one ounce of usable marijuana. Registered cardholders who have not named a provider may grow up to four plants.

As of Jan. 1, 2021, residents are able to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for recreational use. Possession of up to 60 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor, while more than 60 grams is considered a felony. The sale and delivery of marijuana is only illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities. Citizens are permitted to grow no more than four marijuana plants for non-commercial purposes.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Admittance into hospice care in accordance with rules adopted by the department
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Central nervous system disorder resulting in chronic, painful spasticity, or muscle spasms
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Intractable nausea or vomiting
  • Painful Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Severe chronic pain that is “persistent pain of severe intensity that significantly interferes with daily activities as documented by the patient’s treating physician”

Nebraska Marijuana Laws: Decriminalized

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Nebraska for medical or recreational purposes. Possession of up to one ounce is only a civil infraction for first-time offenders, while subsequent offenses and/or larger amounts (up to one pound) will result in a misdemeanor charge. Possessing more than one pound of cannabis is considered a felony. Sale and delivery is a felony regardless of the quantity. Nebraska has decriminalized marijuana to a limited degree.

Nevada Marijuana Laws: Legalized and Decriminalized

It has been legal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Nevada for both medical and recreational purposes since 2001 and 2017, respectively. Residents of Nevada are permitted to possess up to one ounce of cannabis on their person, though larger amounts will result in a misdemeanor charge. The sale and delivery of cannabis is only illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities. Nevada residents may grow up to six plants for non-commercial use. Nevada has an expungement process for prior marijuana convictions that have since been decriminalized, though certain convictions may be sealed.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Opioid dependency
  • Muscle spasms or seizures
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Neuropathic conditions (whether or not the condition causes seizures)
  • Severe nausea or pain

Nevada is currently poised to be one of the first states to introduce a banking system specifically for its cannabis industry. The system will be based around the exchange of electronic tokens, purchased by consumers through an app, which will then be used by consumers to buy products or for businesses to pay the state and local government.

New Hampshire Marijuana Laws: Medical and Decriminalized

The fight to legalize recreational marijuana in New Hampshire is gaining some traction. The House voted to legalize possession and growth at home. A Senate committee moved the proposal to the Senate where it awaits action.

But possession, use, purchasing, selling, or cultivating marijuana in New Hampshire remains illegal for recreational purposes. Possession of less than three-fourths of an ounce is only a misdemeanor on the fourth offense within three years, while possessing three-fourths or more is always considered a misdemeanor. The sale and delivery of cannabis, however, is considered a felony. New Hampshire has also decriminalized marijuana to a limited extent.

Cannabis has been legal in New Hampshire for medical purposes since 2013. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire up to two ounces of usable marijuana. Home cultivation, however, is not permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy Induced Anorexia
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic Pancreatitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  • Elevated Intraocular Pressure
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C (currently receiving antiviral treatment)
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Lupus
  • Moderate to severe vomiting
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Nausea
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe pain (that has not responded to previously prescribed medication)
  • Spinal cord injury or disease
  • Traumatic brain injury

New Jersey Marijuana Laws: Legalized

New Jersey residents voted to legalize marijuana on a public ballot question in 2020. A few months later, Governor Phil Murphy signed three pieces of legislation into law that licensed the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults, decriminalized the possession and/or distribution of certain amounts of cannabis, and reduced penalties for illegal possession. That went into effect in April 2022.

Under the new laws, adults can purchase and possess up to six ounces of cannabis. They can also distribute up to one ounce without any infractions. New Jersey also has an automatic expungement process for prior marijuana convictions.

Cannabis has been legal in New Jersey for medical purposes since 2010. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire up to three ounces of usable marijuana per month. Home cultivation, however, is not permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Addiction substitute therapy for opioid reduction
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Anxiety
  • Cancer (includes associated chronic pain and/or severe nausea)
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic Visceral Pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Cramps)
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS (includes associated chronic pain and/or severe nausea)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Opioid dependency
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Terminal illness (if a doctor has determined the patient will die within a year)
  • Tourette’s Syndrome

New Mexico Marijuana Laws: Legalized

Recreational marijuana use became legal in April 2022. As such, residents 21 and over are able to possess up to two ounces without any fines or penalties. Possessing more than two ounces is a misdemeanor and adults can grow up to six plants. Distribution of amounts in excess of 100 pounds is still a felony.

Cannabis has been legal in New Mexico for medical purposes since 2007. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire up to eight ounces of usable marijuana within a 90-day period. Qualified residents may grow up to four mature plants.

New York Marijuana Laws: Legalized

On March 31, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that permits recreational marijuana use and possession of three ounces of cannabis by adults 21 years and older. In addition to creating licenses for producers and distributors, it will also be possible to grow up to six mature plants and six immature plants in a household, although this won’t be the case until 18 months after sales begin. Also under the new law, prior marijuana convictions will be retroactively expunged if these actions would now be considered legal.

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Cannabis has been legal in New York for medical purposes since 2014. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire a “30-day supply” of usable marijuana. Home cultivation, however, is not permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Acute pain management
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuropathies
  • Opioid substitution
  • Spinal cord damage

North Carolina Marijuana Laws: Medical (CBD) and Decriminalized

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in North Carolina for either medical or recreational purposes. While possession of up to 1.5 ounces is only a misdemeanor, larger amounts will result in a felony charge. Sale and delivery is always a felony, regardless of the quantity. North Carolina has partially decriminalized certain marijuana possession offenses.

Although marijuana can’t be prescribed for medical purposes in North Carolina, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD to treat qualifying conditions since 2014, though only if it contains less than 0.9% THC.

North Dakota Marijuana Laws: Medical and Decriminalized

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in North Dakota for recreational purposes. While possession of less than a half-ounce is only a criminal infraction, larger amounts will result in a misdemeanor charge. Sale and delivery is always a felony, regardless of the quantity. North Dakota has partially decriminalized certain marijuana possession offenses.

Cannabis has been legal in North Dakota for medical purposes since 2016. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire up to three ounces of usable marijuana in a 30-day period. Home cultivation, however, is not permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Agitation from Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Brain injury
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic or debilitating disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  • Endometriosis
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Intractable nausea
  • Neuropathy
  • Migraine
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Severe debilitating pain
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Tourette Syndrome

Ohio Marijuana Laws: Medical and Decriminalized

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Ohio for recreational purposes. While possession of up to 200 grams is only a misdemeanor, larger amounts will result in a felony charge. Sale and delivery is always a felony, regardless of the quantity—unless it’s in the form of a gift of 20 grams or less, then it’s a misdemeanor. Ohio has partially decriminalized certain marijuana possession offenses.

Cannabis has been legal in Ohio for medical purposes since 2016. The amount that qualifying residents may receive at any one time, however, hasn’t been specified. Home cultivation is not permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Pain that is either of the following nature: chronic and severe; or intractable
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Spinal cord disease or injury
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Oklahoma Marijuana Laws: Medical

It is currently illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Ohio for recreational purposes. Possession of any amount is always a misdemeanor, while sale and delivery is always a felony.

Cannabis has been legal in Oklahoma for medical purposes since 2018. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire up to eight ounces of usable marijuana. Home cultivation is permitted, though the number of plants isn’t specified.

The decision to recommend cannabis therapy is up to the discretion of the treating physician.

Oregon Marijuana Laws: Legalized

Oregon is the first state in the U.S. to adopt decriminalization. It has been legal to possess, use, purchase, sell, and cultivate marijuana in Oregon for both medical and recreational purposes since 1998 and 2015, respectively. In public, residents of Oregon may possess up to one ounce without penalty, above one ounce, and up to two ounces with only a violation charge, and more than two ounces will be treated as a misdemeanor. In their primary residence, citizens may possess up to eight ounces without penalty for recreational use. The sale and delivery of marijuana are only illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities. Residents may grow up to four plants for recreational purposes.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Nausea
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Seizures

Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws: Medical

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Pennsylvania for recreational purposes. Possession is always a misdemeanor, regardless of the amount. Although sale and delivery of up to 30 grams are only considered a misdemeanor, larger quantities will result in a felony charge.

Cannabis has been legal in Pennsylvania for medical purposes since 2016. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire a “30-day supply” of usable marijuana. Home cultivation, however, is not permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Dyskinetic/Spastic movement disorders
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Opioid dependency
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Neuropathies
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain
  • Terminal illness (defined as 12 months or fewer to live)
  • Tourette Syndrome

Rhode Island Marijuana Laws: Medical and Decriminalized

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Rhode Island for recreational purposes. While possessing less than one ounce is only considered a civil violation, possessing between one ounce and one kilogram will result in a misdemeanor charge. Anything greater than one kilogram will be treated as a felony. Sale and delivery is always a felony, regardless of the quantity. Rhode Island has also decriminalized marijuana to a limited extent.

Cannabis has been legal in Rhode Island for medical purposes since 2006. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana. Qualifying residents may also grow up to 12 plants.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Autism
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Nausea
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Seizures

South Carolina Marijuana Laws: Medical (CBD)

The South Carolina House passed a bill to fully legalize medical marijuana in April 2022. The proposal was already passed by the Senate. However, it is still illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in South Carolina for either medical or recreational purposes. Possession of any amount is always a misdemeanor, while sale and delivery is always a felony.

Although marijuana can’t be prescribed for medical purposes in South Carolina, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD to treat qualifying conditions since 2014, though only if it contains no more than 0.9% THC.

South Dakota Marijuana Laws: Legalized

In 2020, South Dakota residents voted to legalize the possession and cultivation of marijuana for recreational purposes, in addition to enabling the establishment of a retail cannabis market. Voters also approved the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes.

By July 21, 2021, residents will be able to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for recreational use. Possession of two ounces of cannabis will be a misdemeanor, while more than two ounces will be considered a felony. The sale and delivery of marijuana will only be illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities.

If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire up to three ounces of usable marijuana. Qualifying residents may also grow up to three plants.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Muscle spasms (including characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Seizures
  • Severe and/or debilitating pain
  • Severe nausea

Tennessee Marijuana Laws: Medical (CBD)

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Tennessee for either medical or recreational purposes. Possession of any amount is always a misdemeanor, while sale and delivery is always a felony.

Although marijuana can’t be prescribed for medical purposes in Tennessee, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD to treat intractable seizures since 2014, though only if it contains no more than 0.9% THC.

Texas Marijuana Laws: Medical (CBD)

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Texas for either medical or recreational purposes. Possession of up to four ounces is considered a misdemeanor, while over four ounces will result in a felony charge. Similarly, the sale and delivery of no more than seven grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor, with larger amounts resulting in a felony charge.

Although marijuana can’t be prescribed for medical purposes in Texas, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD to treat qualifying conditions since 2015, though only if it contains no more than 0.5% THC.

Utah Marijuana Laws: Medical

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Utah for recreational purposes. Possession of up to one pound is only a misdemeanor, while more than one pound is considered a felony. Sale and delivery is always a felony, regardless of the quantity.

Cannabis has been legal in Utah for medical purposes since 2018. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire a “30-day supply” of usable marijuana. Home cultivation, however, is not permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Any condition resulting in hospice care
  • Any rare condition that affects fewer than 200,000 persons in the United States as defined by Section 526 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and is not adequately managed despite treatment attempts
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Autism
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity)
  • Nausea (must be persistent)
  • Pain lasting longer than two weeks that is not adequately managed despite treatment attempts
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder “that is being treated or monitored by a licensed mental health therapist”
  • Terminal illness (where life expectancy is less than six months)
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Vermont Marijuana Laws: Legalized

It has been legal to possess, use, purchase, sell, and cultivate marijuana in Vermont for medical and recreational purposes since 2004 and 2018, respectively. Residents are permitted to possess up to one ounce of recreational cannabis. Possessing no more than two ounces will result in a misdemeanor charge, while over two ounces will be considered a felony.

The sale and delivery of marijuana are only illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities. Residents may grow up to six plants, but only two can be mature at a time.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Any patient receiving hospice care
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Seizures
  • Severe or chronic pain
  • Severe nausea

Virginia Marijuana Laws: Legalized

On April 7, 2021, Virginia’s legislature passed a bill legalizing the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana for adults ages 21 and over, starting July 1. It will also be legal to cultivate up to four cannabis plants by this date, though it could take years before Virginia begins licensing recreational marijuana retailers. This law also won’t allow existing medical dispensaries to begin selling to all adults immediately. Additionally, the bill allows for the resentencing of individuals currently imprisoned for cannabis-related offenses, though this prevision must be reenacted by 2022.

This bill was originally slated to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. The date for when regulators have to enact provisions licensing commercial cannabis production and sales is still July 1, 2024.

Cannabis has been legal in Virginia for medical purposes since 2020. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they may acquire up to four ounces of usable marijuana every 30 days. Home cultivation, however, is not permitted. A qualifying condition is considered “[a]ny diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use.”

Washington Marijuana Laws: Legalized

It has been legal to possess, use, purchase, sell, and cultivate marijuana in Washington for medical and recreational purposes since 1998 and 2012, respectively. Residents are permitted to possess up to one ounce of recreational cannabis in their private residences. Possessing more than one ounce will result in a misdemeanor charge, while over 40 grams will be considered a felony. The sale and delivery of marijuana is only illegal outside of the context of retail sales by state-licensed entities. Washington also has an expungement process for prior marijuana convictions.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Any “terminal or debilitating condition”
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Intractable pain
  • Persistent muscle spasms, and/or spasticity
  • Nausea
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Seizures
  • Traumatic brain injury

West Virginia Marijuana Laws: Medical

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in West Virginia for recreational purposes. Possession of any amount is always a misdemeanor, while sale and delivery is always a felony. But there are several pending bills to legalize recreational use and possession of up to one ounce, although legislators have yet to pass them.

Although medical marijuana was legalized in West Virginia in 2016, the programs are not yet operational. If a resident possesses a qualifying condition, they will be able to acquire a currently unspecified amount of usable marijuana. Home cultivation, however, won’t be permitted.

Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions include:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy (and other disorders characterized by seizures)
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuropathies (chronic nerve pain)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Terminally illness

Wisconsin Marijuana Laws: Medical (CBD)

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Wisconsin for medical or recreational purposes. Possession of any amount is considered a misdemeanor for first offenders, while subsequent offenses will be treated as felonies. Sale and delivery is always a felony, regardless of the quantity.

Although marijuana can’t be prescribed for medical purposes in Wisconsin, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD to treat qualifying conditions since 2014, though it must be “in a form without a psychoactive effect.” While originally permitted only for treating intractable seizures, a 2016 law expanded its availability for the treatment of any diagnosed condition.

Wyoming Marijuana Laws: Medical (CBD)

It is illegal to possess, use, purchase, sell, or cultivate marijuana in Wyoming for medical or recreational purposes. Possession of up to three ounces is only considered a misdemeanor, while larger amounts will result in a felony charge. Sale and delivery is always a felony, regardless of the quantity.

Although marijuana can’t be prescribed for medical purposes in Wyoming, it has been legal to use cannabis extracts high in CBD to treat qualifying conditions since 2015, though only if it contains less than 0.3% of THC.

How Many States Legalized Marijuana Use?

As of April 2022, 37 states and the District of Columbia legalized marijuana for medical use. Four U.S. territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) also legalized medical cannabis. A total of 18 states legalized recreational marijuana use.

What Is Recreational Marijuana?

Recreational use of marijuana is done purely for enjoyment and for non-medical reasons. This does not require the user to have a medical prescription. Laws vary between states as to whether recreational use is legal. As of April 2022, only 18 states allow cannabis for recreational use.

How Does the U.S. Federal Government Classify Marijuana?

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug under the federal government’s Controlled Substances Act. As such, it is illegal at the federal level and using and possessing it is a punishable offense under federal law.

Article Sources

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