- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
There are both state and federal laws that govern the use and or sale of marijuana. The federal laws are the same in every state and the state laws vary from state to state. It is imperative that if you are a patient or service provider, that you understand these laws. Below you will find information and links to that cover both federal law and also search marijuana laws by state:.
According to the , since 1996, 17 states and Washington, DC have passed laws allowing smoked marijuana to be used for a variety of medical conditions. It is important to recognize that these state marijuana laws do not change the fact that using marijuana continues to be an offense under Federal law. Nor do these state laws change the criteria or process for approval of safe and effective medications, including marijuana.
Under current federal law, there are NO states where marijuana is considered legal for use and or for sale.
This means that there is no accepted medical use, making distribution of marijuana a federal offense. You can be charged and arrested by the Feds even if it is legal in your state and you have the proper doctor's recommendation. Regardless of state laws to the contrary, there is no such thing as "medical" marijuana under Federal law. Marijuana continues to be a Schedule I substance meaning that it has no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
But in many states under their own state laws, marijuana is considered legal for either use and or sale. However, it does get confusing because of the fact that federal law supersedes state law which means in simple terms that no matter if it is legal in your state, the feds can still come in any state in the union to charge and arrest you for unlawful use and or sell of marijuana. To read more on the federal laws, please click here.
Some states like California or say Arizona allow both the legal use and or sale of medical marijuana. For example, in 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, making the Golden State the first in the union to allow for the medical use of marijuana. Since then, 16 more states and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws, for a total of 17 states and the District of Columbia.
These state laws which allow an individual to defend him or herself against criminal charges of marijuana possession if the defendant can prove a medical need for marijuana under state law. Meaning a patient with the proper physician's recommendation can legally possess and or use cannabis. It also means non-patients who would like to be patient service providers with the proper state and business licensing can sell medical marijuana, but that does not mean that they cannot be prosecuted, arrested and or charged.
In other states for example, Maryland's law allows for medical marijuana use as a legal defense in court. Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana and public consumption for medical reasons is still illegal. This is called decriminalization which the laws or policies adopted in a number of state and local jurisdictions which reduce the penalties for possession and use of small amounts of marijuana from criminal sanctions to fines or civil penalties. What this means is that in these decriminalized states it would be legal to smoke it, but not to possess it for sale because you would be fined and or go to jail. It is important that you understand these laws and the differences between the states that have decriminalized of the use of cannabis and the states where with the proper physician's recommendation can legally possess and or use medical marijuana.
- California Law
- State-by-State Medical Marijuana Laws: How to Remove the Threat of Arrest, Marijuana Policy Project, 2008. �