In the past few decades, the landscape has changed a lot for marijuana. We try to keep up to keep you informed about grow legislation, local climates for growing, and more!
Find your state below for more information.
Weed Legal States
Marijuana laws across the United States differ significantly. Even if weed is legal in weed legal states, like Colorado, marijuana is currently illegal at the federal level.
So, what are the laws around growing and using marijuana in the U.S.? And what is the history of these laws? More importantly, in what states is weed legal for recreational purposes?
Furthermore, why is marijuana still considered illegal? The short answer: the U.S. government classifies marijuana as a “Schedule I drug,” putting it in the same category as other dangerous drugs. This classification indicates that marijuana is highly addictive and has no medical uses. Still, since 2014 the federal government has strangely not been pursuing those who use medical marijuana.
However, despite that, the federal government of the United States still has not changed its tune. Even amidst the growing wave of support for marijuana legalization, the United States government remains firm on its stance on the legalization of marijuana.
Interestingly enough, the legalization of medical marijuana is one of the few significant bipartisan issues that exist today. There are numerous Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents involved in legalizing marijuana on their state and federal levels.
Federal Marijuana Laws
Under the Controlled Substances Act, there is still no acknowledged difference between marijuana used for medical or for recreational purposes. The laws against marijuana are the same as drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and meth.
Marijuana is also classified the same as dangerous drugs since it is a “Schedule I drug.” This means it is highly addictive and has no medical uses. Because of this, marijuana may not legally be prescribed for medical purposes. Still, since 2014 the federal government has not been pursuing those who use medical marijuana.
Despite the growing wave of support for marijuana legalization (especially on the medical level), the federal government of the United States still has not changed its tune.
There is some hope that this could eventually change if some members of Congress get voted out in the November 2020 election. So, if you’re a US citizen, don’t forget to vote!
The History of Marijuana Laws in the United States
The truth is, there is a long and differing history surrounding marijuana in the United States. It certainly has not always been considered a dangerous, addictive drug without any medical use in the eyes of the law. In fact, from the 1600s to the late 1800s, it was encouraged to grow as much marijuana as possible.
Hemp production was used for many useful things, including clothing, sails, and rope. By the year 1619, Virginia required every farmer to grow cannabis in addition to their crops of choice. In the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, hemp could legally be used in place of money.
The widespread growing of cannabis continued until the end of the Civil War, at which point numerous imports were used in place of hemp for a variety of products. That wasn’t the end of marijuana in the United States, however, as cannabis became a valuable medicinal ingredient to a variety of medicines. There were no restrictions on its sales.
The first regulation came about in 1906 when cannabis was required to be clearly labeled before being sold over the counter. It wasn’t used recreationally in the United States until the early 1900s when introduced by incoming Mexican immigrants.
A growing fear of the new foreigners became associated with a fear of marijuana. It didn’t help that the Great Depression followed shortly after that, adding to more fear and resentment of newcomers and their use of marijuana. Studies were done that linked crime and violence with marijuana, and by the year 1931, most of the country had outlawed the herb.
Hemp became useful again in the 1940s (during World War II) when materials were scarce, and Americans were once again encouraged to grow the plant to help provide much-needed materials for several products.
Seeds were even handed out. Even so, that didn’t stop the stricter sentencing laws of the 1950s. Suddenly people who possessed marijuana could be sentenced to jail for years.
Despite all this, the very first state to legalize the medical use of Marijuana was California in 1996. The ball has continued to roll since then. Check the links below to find out more about marijuana laws in your state.
How Many States Have Legalized Weed?
As of 2021, 36 states, the District of Columbia (D.C.), and three territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) have approved medical marijuana use, while 18 states, D.C., and two territories regulate cannabis for nonmedical use.
Among the yet-to-be legalized states, some have only decriminalized marijuana possession, yet many consider its medical benefit. These states are quite strict, though. Many only allow CBD oils with specific THC percentages (Texas, Idaho, Indiana, etc.) Marijuana is still illegal in those states, and in Nebraska in particular, marijuana is still illegal in all aspects, whether it be medical, growing, recreational. However, the state has decriminalized it for first-time offenders.
To better understand the current situation in the U.S., here’s a list of states where weed is legal for both medical and recreational use. We included the bill’s title and when legislators signed the bill into law if you want to research further.
The state marijuana legalization movement
At the time of writing, 36 states, as well as the District of Columbia, allow medical marijuana to be used in some way or another. Laws vary from strictly regulated with few, very specific ailments allowed (such as in Minnesota), to a full allowance of marijuana in a recreational context, but with some restrictions on the amount and number of plants you can possess (such as in Colorado).
Interestingly enough, the legalization of medical marijuana is one of the few big bipartisan issues that exist today. There are numerous Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents involved in trying to legalize marijuana on their state levels as well as on the federal level.
While the states are pushing federal action, they haven’t always had the most logical laws on marijuana, however. Several states, perhaps most notably Texas, have a “marijuana tax stamp” law that says that, even though marijuana is illegal, people who do have it must purchase a state-issued stamp that is then placed on the illegal product.
Of course, people rarely adhere to such laws, given the fact that they are afraid of such a purchase incriminating themselves. For this reason, the laws are presumably another way of tacking on an additional charge (tax evasion) to those who are caught with the illegal substance.
Additionally, there used to be a law in the state of New York, that said you can’t be arrested for possessing marijuana if it is in your pocket and is in a small amount. If you outwardly display it, however, by taking it out of your pocket or by smoking it in front of a police officer, then you could be arrested.
This led to a number of police officers demanding that people take marijuana out of their pockets so that they could arrest them for displaying it.
Our Guide to Marijuana Legalization by State
SB 46, also known as the Compassion Act for legalization of medical cannabis, turned Alabama into one of the many states where weed is legal. Although only for medical use, the state approves the growing of cannabis as you’re a licensed cultivator. However, individual patients aren’t allowed to grow their weed.
Alabama has a temperate climate that’s not ideal for growing standard marijuana strains; strains like White Widow or Blue Dream thrive in temperate environments.
The history of Alaska’s marijuana bill was rocky. It began with the decriminalization in 1975, the same year as Ravin v. State, a decision that would give adults the right of privacy and allow them to possess a small amount of marijuana for personal use. However, the introduction of Measure 2 in 1990 recriminalized marijuana. But no more than eight years later, Measure 8 legalized marijuana for medical use. What followed next was a series of back and forth that eventually led to the full legalization of weed in the state in 2014 under the same measure that decriminalized it.
Alaska has the harshest continental climate. Therefore, growing outdoors is out of the question; pick marijuana plants that grow well indoors.
The initiative to allow for the recreational use of marijuana in Arizona did not take as many attempts (nor did it take as long) as the initiative to legalize it for medical use. It began in 2016 with proposition 205, which would allow adults to possess an ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use. It also included a solid framework for dispensaries, commercial distribution, and taxation.
The steppe climate of Arizona can be harsh on marijuana, depending on how well the strain grows in semi-arid conditions. If you’re not one to take chances with your plants, then grow strains like Chemdawg or Agent Orange, which thrive well in hot areas.
Arkansas has been working on becoming a legal pot state since 2012. At the time, the initial bill failed as it didn’t get enough votes, a shame since the Medical Marijuana Act would have allowed patients to grow a small number of cannabis plants. However, the 2016 bill that passed allowed for the medical use of marijuana and for 4 to 8 licensed cultivators (and 20 to 40 licensed dispensaries) to grow and sell medical marijuana.
Arkansas has a humid subtropical climate, which means you’ll experience a lot of rain and drastic temperature shifts. Indoor growing, particularly mold-resistant autoflower strains such as Blue Cheese and Purple Kush, is best here.
Although the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use, California delayed passing the bill to legalize weed in the state entirely. Although the initiative (Proposition 19) to fully legalize marijuana started in 1972, it failed as it did not get enough votes. In 2009 and the following year after it, two attempts were made to pass Proposition 19. Both attempts, however, failed. The state didn’t change its tune on marijuana until November 8, 2016, where California passed Proposition 64 – The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which fully legalized weed.
The dry summers and ensuing rainy season are what make it great for cultivating cannabis, especially if you’re growing strains that specifically thrive in the state’s Mediterranean climate.
Amendment 64, also known as the Colorado Marijuana Initiative, was a popular initiative that successfully outlined a statewide policy on the recreational use of marijuana. It allowed an adult to legally possess an ounce of marijuana and gave them the right to grow six marijuana plants in a privately enclosed space (grow closets/tents). It also gave them the freedom to grow any strain they wish and have the right to possess all marijuana from the plants they grow, as long as it stays where it was grown.
Colorado is known for its hot and dry summers with freezing winters. These drastic temperature shifts are why strains resistant to significant temperature differences are ideal if you want to successfully grow weed in Colorado’s steppe climate.
Medical use of cannabis in Connecticut started in 2012, and it remained unchanged. Chiefly because the legislation was more than amicable, it allowed 3-10 licensed growers statewide and qualified them to sell marijuana in licensed dispensaries. Additionally, a certified medical board gives patients and their caregivers a one-month supply of cannabis. The board determines the amount of cannabis to distribute.
As of June 22, 2021, Connecticut is now a fully legal weed state, joining New York and South Dakota as one of the legal marijuana states of 2021.
Connecticut has a continental climate, making it one of the more complicated states to grow marijuana in because of its hot summers and frigid winters. However, the best strains to grow are Gold Leaf and Wedding Cake, which can thrive in continental climates.
Conditions for patients in Delaware to obtain medical marijuana was difficult. Legislators passed a bill during the earlier years of the liberalization of cannabis, and in 2015, Delaware saw its first compassion center in New Castle. However, marijuana was still a struggle to get. Chiefly because, at the time, the Wilmington Facility was the only compassion center. To date, there are six compassion centers in Delaware, and there seems to be a push for it to become one of the many fully legal weed states in the US.
Delaware has a moderate climate, making it ideal for temperate-loving marijuana strains like Zkittlez and OG Kush.
The bill to legalize medical marijuana in Florida started bitterly as the first attempt in 2014 (right after the state had passed the bill for low-THC, high-CBD consumption) fell short of the votes it needed. Lawmakers picked the bill back up in 2016, and Florida became one of the states that legalized weed for medical use on November 8th.
Florida has a humid subtropical climate. It experiences long summers that are warm and humid. Its winters are short and mild, so you won’t have to worry about sudden temperature shifts. The ideal strains to grow in Florida are Durban Poison and Gorilla Glue because they thrive in places with long warm spells.
Hawaii was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 2000 through the state legislature. The bill was also one of the first of its kind that gave marijuana cardholders the right to grow their weed or appoint a caretaker to do so. However, there were no plans to create dispensaries or legal markets to buy marijuana, thereby undermining this right. In 2015, lawmakers addressed this issue, and as of now, Hawaii has 13 medical dispensaries. Registering as a cardholder has never been easier now that Hawaii has the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program.
The tropical climate in Hawaii is perfect for sativa strains to grow like Sour Diesel and Bruce Banner.
Illinois was the first state to legalize the commercial sale of cannabis through its state legislature in 2019. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act gave people the right to possess, produce, and consume marijuana and allowed for cannabis-related businesses in specific communities around the state.
The continental climate in Illinois makes growing legal marijuana a race against time, which is why ILGM recommends autoflowers seeds since they grow quickly and can also handle colder temperatures better than feminized seeds.
Louisiana passed its medical marijuana program on August 6, 2019. It was a long wait, but it was the beginning of Louisiana’s push to legalize cannabis. And after only a year, the bill greatly expanded access to medical cannabis. It allowed doctors to recommend cannabis for any condition. As of June 22, 2021, the law against crude and smokable cannabis products was lifted and would take effect on January 1, 2022.
When growing your marijuana in Louisiana, choose mold-resistant strains that thrive in the state’s subtropical climate, which has long summers and very short winters.
Maine underwent a series of back and forth with its marijuana laws, similar to Alaska. In 1976, the state decriminalized marijuana. In 1999, it legalized it for medical use, but no less than a decade later, it would decriminalize marijuana, charging people who possessed it with a civil infraction. It was soon legalized once more for medical use in 2014 and finally became a legal weed state for recreational use in 2016. Maine residents can possess, consume, and produce their marijuana. There’s also cannabis sales in the state.
The cold climate in Maine can make growing marijuana difficult, but with autoflowers, you can get around that temperature problem.
The law against marijuana came down hard on Maryland in 2003. If you got caught using marijuana for pain relief, you’d pay a $100 fine. And without an established registry program, there was no safeguard against arrest for people who used medical marijuana. It wasn’t until 2013 that a law established a medical marijuana program. The following year, another law was made that allowed for the creation of a medical marijuana infrastructure. And in 2016, certain medical professionals can now certify patients that are eligible for medical marijuana.
The continental climate of Maryland is unforgiving, especially in the western part of the state. Strains such as Blue Dream and Purple Punch can thrive in Maryland conditions.
Massachusetts allows individuals to possess and use marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes. Marijuana use must remain private. Marijuana businesses also aren’t as common as other states due to strict regulations and bylaws.
The continental climate of Massachusetts isn’t ideal for growing marijuana because of its significant temperature differences as the seasons change. The best way to grow in this state is with indoor autoflowers.
Proposal 1, also known as the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, fully legalized marijuana in the state. It allowed for adults ages 21 and over to possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana in addition to growing 12 plants at home. The initiative didn’t go through as many hurdles or attempts as some other state marijuana laws, which is why it’s the first state in the midwest to legalize recreational marijuana.
Michigan’s cool and moist climate makes growing marijuana slightly tricky because of mildew and other fungi that grow in damp environments. The ideal way to combat this is by picking strains that are mold-resistant.
The state of Minnesota signed the Medical Marijuana Act into law on May 29, 2014. It’s known to be the most restrictive marijuana bill among the states that legalized weed since you can only consume it if you aren’t smoking it. The qualifications are also limited to 9 severe conditions. The legislation expanded to include PTSD and intractable pain in 2017, and in 2020, age-related macular degeneration and chronic pain were added as qualifying conditions.
Minnesota is known for its frigid winters and hot summers. Marijuana seeds for continental climates or autoflower strains grown indoors are ideal in this climate.
Amendment 2, also more commonly known as the Medicaid Expansion Initiative, legalized the medical use of cannabis in Missouri. A supermajority vote of 66% approved it on November 7, 2018. The conditions to be qualified for the treatment aren’t as strict as in other states. Additionally, patients who qualify for treatment can grow up to six cannabis plants and purchase an amount that their physician specifies.
Although summers are great for growing cannabis, the winters in Missouri are long and bitter. Therefore, you should grow strains that grow exceptionally well in continental-type climates.
Marijuana laws in Montana are one of the stricter laws when it comes to recreational marijuana. Like Massachusetts, people cannot consume or possess marijuana (even medical marijuana) in public places. However, there is a system that allows people to buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries for registered cardholders.
Montana has short summers, which isn’t great if you want to grow large marijuana plants. ILGM highly recommends that you choose fast flowering plants for this or any kind of strain that grows well in continental climates.
Nevada became a legalized state for recreational marijuana on January 1, 2017. Question 2 allowed adults 21 and older to possess an ounce of cannabis. These adults got the right to grow six marijuana plants if they lived more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary. As of February 2021, there are 80 marijuana dispensaries in the state. There are also plans for lounges, which are establishments similar to dutch coffee shops, where it’s a public place where people are allowed to smoke and enjoy marijuana.
Nevada’s steppe climate is excellent for growing photoperiod cannabis since this allows for a much longer growing season for larger plants. Ideally, you pick a strain that can thrive in the state’s notoriously hot summers.
The 2018 measure to legalize recreational marijuana in New Jersey was a heated debate in the state legislature, to the point that it was only recently fully legalized on January 1, 2021. There were concerns about race and age, which is why the measure took its time as it underwent a lot of changes or ‘clean-up’ bills. As a result, a measure allowed adults ages 21 and older to legally possess an ounce of any kind of cannabis product passed.
The temperate climate in New Jersey is perfect for growing marijuana. The summers are long and humid, allowing strains like Super Silver Haze and Gelato to thrive well.
Push for recreational marijuana started in New Mexico in March 2019 with House Bill 356. The bill stalled, but it showed promise, ensuring that it’d come up again the following year. As of April 12, 2021, the state became a weed legal state. Adults age 21 and over are allowed to carry with them 2 ounces worth of marijuana, and at home, there’s no specified limitation. Home cultivation is allowed, restricted to only having six mature plants and six seedlings.
New Mexico’s semi-arid conditions don’t look ideal at first. However, by picking the right marijuana strain that grows in steppe climates, you’ll have a much easier time cultivating cannabis.
The Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act was signed into law on March 31, 2021. New York became one of the many states where weed is legal for medical and recreational use. It allowed for adults 21 and over to grow three mature plants and three seedlings. Within a household, a person is allowed to grow a maximum of 12 plants.
New York has an unstable climate, with significant temperature differences between summer and winter. Thankfully, the growing seasons aren’t short. ILGM recommends strains like OG Kush since it thrives well in the state and is a popular strain.
In Oregon, Measure 91 was signed and went into effect on October 1, 2015, through an emergency bill. For this reason, it didn’t take as long, nor was it debated upon as much. It allowed for the legal possession of marijuana for adult use as well as cultivation and sale. Marijuana was nothing new to citizens of Oregon since it was already legal for medical use. However, consumption is prohibited in public places or in public view, which especially applies to visitors.
When it comes to growing marijuana in Oregon, ILGM highly recommends strains like Girl Scout Cookies Extreme or Amnesia Haze since both can thrive in the Mediterranean climate of the state.
In New Hampshire, the bill legalizing medical marijuana was considered one of the stricter medical marijuana bills in the country. Although it did call for the legalization of medical marijuana, it was rigid for those who qualified for treatment. Only patients with chronic and terminal diseases and debilitating medical conditions are eligible. Furthermore, only after all other methods have been exhausted can treatment be recommended.
New England’s continental climate is known for its terrible winters, and it’s no different in New Hampshire. Autoflower strains that can thrive well in continental climates are best in this state.
The initial approved 2016 measure started strong, with hopes that many would qualify for it and have the right to grow their cannabis. However, the measure underwent changes passed by the state legislature. It removed the provision allowing patients to grow their marijuana and limited weed smoking to those with a recommendation.
North Dakota’s continental climate makes it challenging to grow standard marijuana seeds; however, our collection of continental seeds can thrive in this state.
There was a push to make Ohio a legal pot state in 2015 with a bill (issue 3) that would legalize recreational use of marijuana, but it failed. In 2016, a different bill for medical use established a system for dispensaries, growing facilities, and patient registration. It took the state three years to become fully operational.
Ohio’s long, warm, and humid summers make it great for growing. Its short and frigid winters aren’t that bad, but ILGM offers marijuana strains that grow well in cool climates fr those planning to venture outdoors.
The law in Oklahoma states that a qualified individual with a medical marijuana license can have six mature cannabis plants in their residence and six seedlings. They’re also allowed to carry with them 3 ounces of weed and are allowed to have 8 ounces in their residence.
The growing season in Oklahoma would have been perfect for marijuana. However, the humidity around the growing season is dense. Sticking to mold-resistant strains is a must.
The bill to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania went smoothly at first, with Bill 3 being passed and signed on April 17, 2016. It established a working system where patients who qualified for treatment received a state license that would grant them a supply of non-smokable cannabis products. Since 2020 there seems to be a push for the state to become fully legalized.
Pennsylvania’s continental climate has drastic shifts in temperature as the seasons change. The idea; marijuana strain is resistant to changes in temperature.
Rhode Island was the 11th state to legalize medical marijuana for severe and debilitating conditions, but the scope was not as limited as other marijuana state laws. In 2009, Rhode Island established a cannabis dispensary system for its patients, making it the second state after California. As of 2019, there are now three medical cannabis dispensaries in Rhode Island that grow medical marijuana.
Although part of New England, Rhode Island’s climate is a lot more hospitable for growing marijuana. It’s still best to grow strains that can handle cold temperatures as they’ll grow much faster than your standard strain.
Attempts to legalize marijuana in South Dakota started in 2006. They continued to 2015, where all three initiatives failed due to a lack of financial support. There was also an attempt in 2018 that fell short on signatures. Finally, in 2020, there was an initiative to push for both medical and recreational use under two separate initiatives. Although the push for recreational use is being challenged, the bill for medical use (Measure 26) passed and came into effect on July 1, 2021.
The climate in South Dakota is known for its warm summers that are ideal for growing marijuana outdoors. ILGM recommends strains like Super Skunk and Blue Cheese which can thrive in temperate climates like South Dakota.
It took three years for Utah to legalize medical marijuana. The process started in 2015, where it failed, noted by the state Senate as being rushed. A second attempt failed in 2016. Finally, in 2018, proposition 2 was passed, allowing people the “right to try” and grow marijuana plants for patients with severe and debilitating conditions.
Utah’s steppe climate makes it hard to grow some strains of marijuana as it’s practically a desert. However, Gorilla Glue, Granddaddy Purple, and ILGM’s own Gold Leaf can grow perfectly fine in those semi-arid conditions.
The bill to fully legalize marijuana in Vermont was a struggle for many advocates. The push began in 2014 and continued until July 1, 2018, when Vermont legalized marijuana for recreational use under Act 86. There was no framework or plans for this act’s sale and revenue provisions, but there seems to be soon.
Vermont’s continental climate is notorious for its long periods of cold rainfall. Thankfully the summers and the rest of the growing seasons are sunny, great for cultivating marijuana. ILGM recommends growers use mold-resistant strains like Bruce Banner and Sour Diesel.
Measures to legalize recreational marijuana in Virginia started strong. After decriminalization, advocates rushed to turn the state into a weed legal state no less than a year later. Despite the bill passing, the governor would not sign the bill into law until legislators changed the implementation date to July 1, 2021, and commercial sales to January 1, 2024.
Virginia’s subtropical climate makes it the ideal place for growing marijuana. Its summers are warm and sunny enough for outdoor growing, allowing the state to cultivate larger plants like Super Lemon Haze and Trainwreck, large plants with even larger buds.
On December 6, 2012, Washington state became the first to legalize recreational weed in the nation. Initiative 502 started in 2011. Police groups and medical marijuana groups, surprisingly, opposed the initiative for reasons that recreational marijuana would hurt their industry. Commercial sales and home growing weren’t implemented until much later, on November 18, 2013.
The temperate climate of eastern Washington makes for strains like OG Kush and Blue Dream to grow exceptionally well. Western Washington should stick to mold-resistant strains.
Push for full legalization in Washington, D.C., was by far the cleanest. In 2013, medical marijuana was approved and signed into law. In 2014, it was decriminalized, and in the following year, it was legalized for recreational use. It does have its caveats though, for one, you’re not allowed to sell marijuana that you’ve grown. However, people are allowed to grow their weed as well as carry it on them. Additionally, transporting and even gifting cannabis was also allowed.
Washington, D.C.’s semi-continental climate characterizes its hot summers and cool winters, which is why ILGM recommends you grow strains like Blue Cheese and any other autoflower strains. They can handle colder climates and temperature shifts better than most other marijuana strains.
Plenty of bills were passed and rejected in West Virginia from 2010 to 2015. Each year, legislators introduced a single bill decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana. Each year opponents rejected the bill. It wasn’t until 2017 that a bill finally passed and signed into law. The Senate Bill 386, also known as the compassionate act for medical cannabis, legalized weed for medical use and allowed patients who qualified for treatment to receive an I.D that would be necessary for obtaining medical cannabis.
West Virginia is known for its humid summers and moderate rainfall. This continental climate can cause mildew to develop in standard marijuana plants; growing mold-resistant strains is necessary.
Where is marijuana legal? It’s legal in all of the states we’ve mentioned in our guide. But to truly understand, you’ll need to go into the specifics of each law. Luckily, now that you know which bill is for each state, you can!
If the thought of growing marijuana sounds appealing to you, check out ILGM’s online store for premium, high-quality cannabis seeds. ILGM’s free shipping and guaranteed delivery ensure your cannabis growing gets off to a good start!