Cannabis Use by State: Interesting Stats & Facts

Weed t-shirts, billboards, and songs might seem to be everywhere, depending on where you live — a stark contrast to weed culture even ten years ago. Cannabis’s state legalization has sparked discussions, trends, and a demand for change. 

As laws continue to shift, it’s critical to understand the legality of cannabis use by state before lighting up. 

Cannabis Use by State

Until it’s legalized federally, cannabis laws exist on a state-by-state basis. Laws in different states and cities restrict specific uses or possession amounts. For example, you can only buy one ounce of recreational cannabis per day in Colorado, but you can purchase 28 ounces a day in California. 

The most prominent difference in state laws is between recreational and medical use. Many states only allow medical use, so you must have a medical card from a doctor to enter a dispensary. Even in states where cannabis is available recreationally, many dispensaries still only sell medical products. Always be aware of your state, local, and dispensary rules before purchasing. 

Which States Legalized Weed Recreationally?

The states that fully legalized cannabis have seen statewide markets and enterprises flourish as a result. Most of these states and major cities have enacted cannabis taxes that give money directly back to the community. 

Cannabis is legalized recreationally in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.

According to a 2021 study, cannabis is most popular in Vermont, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., where about 30% of the population admitted to using it in the past year. However, those numbers may change as more states legalize pot and open dispensaries. 

Which States Legalized Weed Only Medically?

U.S. weed legalization began when California legalized medical cannabis in 1996. This opened the doors for more states to legalize cannabis for medical use and, eventually, recreational use. Today, many states are still in those early legalization stages, with only medical dispensaries open. 

Cannabis is available only medically in these states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • West Virginia

Unfortunately, most state laws are different, making it challenging to determine which states are safe to smoke in while traveling. States such as Florida restrict out-of-state medical cards, so you may not even be able to light up with a doctor’s approval. Ohio and other states are actively considering new laws to make cannabis available for everyone 21 and older. However, other states are firm on keeping cannabis criminalized.

Where Is Weed Still Illegal?

Many states still explicitly outlaw cannabis for various reasons. Some states are actively considering new proposals and laws, while others have no intention of changing. However, some states, such as Georgia, Indiana, and Texas, allow the use of CBD and other cannabinoids, giving residents alternative options. 

In these states, you cannot buy cannabis medically or recreationally:

  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky 
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Find Recreational Weed in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has legalized cannabis both recreationally and medically, though products vary by dispensary. Visit Harbor House Collective to find the right weed for your next smoke session. 

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