Doctor holding stethascope

It is hard to overstate just how quickly the legal landscape around and public attitudes toward cannabis have changed. According to Gallup, 64% of Americans support cannabis legalization. In the past decade or so, 32 states plus the District of Columbia are states with legalized medical cannabis. Ten states and D.C. have fully legalized the plant. In 2018, a record 21 states considered adult-use cannabis bills.

Let’s take a closer look at medical marijuana legal states and recreational cannabis states to understand how their laws differ.

Medical Marijuana vs. Other Cannabis Products

In most medical cannabis states, a patient must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state. A doctor must recommend cannabis as a treatment and the patient has to register with whatever state-run medical cannabis patient registration system is in place.

When it comes to recreational cannabis products and medical marijuana products, there isn’t too much difference. In some states, like California and Colorado, medical cannabis products are not taxed to the extent that recreational cannabis products are. And medical products can have a higher potency.

In stricter medical cannabis states like Alabama and Louisiana, medical cannabis products are very limited. They must have a potency of no more than .3% THC and cannot be smokable.

What the new Farm Bill Brings to the Table

The 2018 Farm Bill does nothing to legalize cannabis. Instead, it legalized hemp, a variation of the cannabis plant, for industrial use. The difference between hemp and cannabis, in the eyes of the law, is centered on potency. Hemp is legal so long as it has less than .3% THC.

While the Farm Bill doesn’t legalize or change federal policies on pot, it could help along the legalization process. The 2018 Farm Bill calls for more research on hemp, which could include more studies on the medical applications of cannabis.

Marijuana Legal States – Nuances and Differences

Alaska

  • Adults (21+) can legally to possess up to one ounce of cannabis
  • 12 plants per household

 

California

  • Adults (21+) can legally to possess up to one ounce of cannabis
  • Six plants per household

 

Colorado

  • Adults (21+) can legally to possess up to one ounce of cannabis
  • Six plants per household

 

Maine

  • Adults (21+) can legally to carry up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis
  • Six plants per household

 

Massachusetts

  • Adults (21+) can legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis outside the home and 10 ounces inside the home
  • Six plants per household

 

Michigan

  • Adults (21+) can legally possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis outside the home and up to 10 ounces inside the home
  • 12 plants per household

 

Nevada

  • Adults (21+) can legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower or an ⅛ ounce of cannabis concentrate
  • Six plants per household

Oregon

  • Adults (21+) can possess up to one ounce of cannabis
  • Four plants per household

 

Vermont

  • Adults (21+) can possess up to one ounce of cannabis, but there are no recreational dispensaries that sell the plant
  • Two mature plants per household or four immature plants

 

Washington

  • Adults (21+) can purchase and possess one ounce of cannabis
  • No household plants allowed unless you are a medical marijuana patient

 

Washington D.C.

  • Adults (21+) can carry up to two ounces of cannabis, but there are no recreational sales
  • Six plants (limited to three mature plants at a time) per household

Medical Marijuana Legal States – Nuances and Differences

Alabama

  • Non-psychoactive CBD oil only  

 

Alaska

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state

 

Arizona

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Medical cannabis patients and caregivers can possess up to 2.5 ounces

 

Arkansas

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state (of which there are many)
  • Medical cannabis patients and caregivers can purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces bought from Nonprofit Cannabis Care Centers
  • Based on financial need, patients can qualify for a “Hardship Cultivation Certificate” granting them the ability to grow up to 10 plants at home

 

California

  • Medical marijuana program available, no qualifying conditions but up to physician’s discretion
  • Medical marijuana patients can join cooperatives and collectives
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to eight ounces of cannabis (or more with a doctor’s recommendation)
  • Can grow up six mature plants or 12 immature plants at home
  • Medical marijuana patients have different tax liabilities than recreational buyers

 

Colorado

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to two ounces of usable cannabis, purchased from a licensed medical or recreational dispensary
  • Medical marijuana patients have different tax liabilities and potency limits than recreational buyers

 

Connecticut

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying “debilitating” condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to a “one month supply” purchased at one of ten state-licensed dispensaries
  • No home cultivation allowed

 

Delaware

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to six ounces of cannabis
  • Patients must register with a licensed, non-profit compassion center and cannot purchase more than three ounces of cannabis per patient in any 14-day period

 

District of Columbia

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the district
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to two ounces of usable medical cannabis

 

Florida

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying and debilitating condition
  • Cannabis patients can possess a 70-day supply (no amount specified)
  • No home grown cultivation allowed
  • Only allows for cannabis oils, tinctures, sprays, and edibles
  • Ban on smoking medical cannabis

 

Hawaii

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying and debilitating condition
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to four ounces of medical cannabis
  • Medical dispensaries available
  • Up to seven cannabis plants per household (only three mature plants)

 

Illinois

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying and debilitating condition
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis
  • No home grown cultivation allowed
  • Cannabis patients must select a designated dispensary

 

Louisiana

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess a 30-day supply of non-smokable cannabis (like tincture and edibles)
  • No home grown cultivation is allowed

 

Maine

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis
  • Can grow up to six cannabis plants (limited to three mature plants at a time) at home
  • Eight non-profit medical dispensaries are licensed throughout the state

 

Maryland

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to 120 grams of cannabis (unless a physician specifically recommends more)
  • 102 medical cannabis dispensaries currently operational

 

Massachusetts

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis every two months
  • Limited homegrown cultivation (no exact amount clarified so far)
  • Medical cannabis dispensaries will be licensed by the state

 

Michigan

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis
  • Cannabis patients can grow up to 12 cannabis plants at home
  • Licensed medical cannabis dispensaries available

 

Minnesota

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess a 30-day supply determined by a physician
  • Dispensaries can only sell non-smokable options
  • No homegrown cultivation allowed

 

Missouri

  • Medical marijuana program available, no qualifying conditions are listed so it is up to physician’s discretion
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to four ounces per month
  • Can grow up to six plants at home
  • State will license medical cannabis dispensaries

 

Montana

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to one ounce of cannabis
  • Can grow up to six plants at home
  • State will license medical cannabis providers

 

Nevada

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to one ounce of cannabis
  • Can grow up to seven plants per household (only three mature at a time)
  • State will license medical cannabis dispensaries

 

New Hampshire

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to two ounces of cannabis
  • No homegrown cultivation allowed
  • Only four state-licensed production facilities will grow cannabis for the state

 

New Jersey

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to two ounces of cannabis per month
  • No homegrown cultivation allowed
  • State will license up to six “alternative treatment centers” for purchase of medical cannabis

 

New Mexico

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to six ounces (or more with a specific letter from a doctor)
  • Can cultivate 12 seedlings and four mature cannabis plants (16 total) at home
  • State-licensed medical cannabis dispensaries are available

 

New York

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to a 30-day supply (no amount specified)
  • The state will license up to five producers and 20 medical cannabis dispensaries

 

North Dakota

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to three ounces of cannabis
  • Can grow up to eight plants at home if the patient lives 40 miles or more away from the nearest “Compassionate Care Center”

 

Ohio

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to a 90-day supply
  • No homegrown cultivation allowed
  • Ohio will license medical cannabis dispensaries throughout the state

 

Oregon

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to 24 ounces of cannabis
  • Can grow up to 18 seedlings and six mature cannabis plants at home (24 total)
  • State-licensed medical cannabis dispensaries available

 

Rhode Island

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis
  • Can cultivate up to 12 cannabis plants
  • The state licenses “Compassion Centers” that grow and sell medical cannabis

 

Utah

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to two ounces of cannabis
  • Can cultivate up to six plants at home if a patient doesn’t live within 100 miles of a medical dispensary
  • Five medical dispensaries are currently allowed, but more could be licensed as needed

 

Vermont

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to two ounces of cannabis
  • Can cultivate up to two mature plants or seven immature plants (nine total) at home
  • No more than five dispensaries will be licensed unless there is a need for more

 

Washington

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to 24 ounces of cannabis
  • Can grow up to 15 cannabis plants
  • State-licensed dispensaries available

 

West Virginia

  • Medical marijuana program available, must have a qualifying condition recognized by the state
  • Cannabis patients can possess up to a 30-day supply at any given time
  • No homegrown cultivation allowed
  • The state will license up to 30 medical cannabis dispensaries

 

With so much growth and momentum in the cannabis industry, it seems it’s only a matter of time before federal legalization is a reality. If your dream is to become a cannabis business owner, get in touch with Gleam Law. Our team of cannabis attorneys have clients in all 50 states and can work with you to understand opportunities in your state.