Marijuana, also knows a cannabis, dates all the way back to 500 B.C. Asia, where it was used as herbal medicine. In America, hemp was mainly cultivated for domestic purposes such as rope, paper and textiles and was used as food. Its criminalization was the result of racial and political factors in the 1900s, but, nonetheless, has begun to raise awareness through its changing legal status across the country.


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Thirty-three states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have currently passed laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form.

The District of Columbia and 11 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — have adopted the most expansive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The most recent state, Illinois, became the second most-populous state to legalize recreational marijuana after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill passed by the legislature. Vermont earlier became the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use through the legislative process, rather than via a ballot measure. Vermont’s law allows for adults age 21 and over to grow and possess small amounts of cannabis. However, it does not permit the sale of nonmedical cannabis. Some other state laws similarly decriminalized marijuana, but did not initially legalize retail sales.

Other states allow for limited use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances. Some medical marijuana state laws are broader than others, with specific medical conditions that allow for treatment varying among states. Louisiana, West Virginia and a few other states allow only for cannabis-infused products, such as oils or pills.

A number of states have also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

State Marijuana Legalization
Alaska Fully legal
Arizona Medical
Arkansas Medical
California Fully legal
Colorado Fully legal
Connecticut Medical
Delaware Medical
Florida Medical
Hawaii Medical
Illinois Fully legal
Louisiana Medical
Maine Fully legal
Maryland Medical
Massachusetts Fully legal
Michigan Fully legal
Missouri Medical
Montana Medical
Nevada Fully legal
New Hampshire Medical
New Jersey Medical
New Mexico Medical
New York Medical
North Dakota Medical
Ohio Medical(For patients with specific conditions; But no flower, smoking or growing)
Oregon Fully legal
Pennsylvania Medical(Patients can’t smoke; illegal to possess)
Puerto Rico Medical
Rhode Island Medical
Utah Medical
Vermont Fully legal
Washington, D.C. Fully legal(Non-residents may purchase with medical card)
Washington Fully legal
West Virginia Medical