‘Where is marijuana legal?’ Not too long ago, this question would never have occurred to even the most optimistic of stoners. After all, marijuana has had to labor under unjustifiably draconian laws for decades. The climb to legalization was a long and bitterly fought one, and oftentimes, it seemed as if there was no resolution in sight.
Things have changed drastically since then, of course, and today, the question where is marijuana legal is not only legitimate, but can be answered with favorably as well. To date, four states in the U.S. and one federal district has legalized marijuana in almost every sense of the word.
Colorado has long been at the forefront of legalization, having been one of the first to legalize marijuana for medical use. With the passage of Colorado Amendment 64 on November 6, 2012, the non-medical use of marijuana was legalized as well. The possession and sale of marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use, and residents can transport as much as 1 ounce (or 28 grams) legally. Individuals can also grow as many as six plants for personal use, although only three may be mature at any one time. Commercial growers can maintain six plants with the proper license.
In Washington State, the possession and sale of marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational purposes. Transporting marijuana is also legal – as is cultivation – albeit with certain restrictions and the requisite licensing. With the passage of Initiative 502 in 2012, Washington became one of the first two states (the other being Colorado) that legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Under the guidelines of the initiative, state licenses are required in order to sell, distribute, and produce marijuana. The law also stipulates that individuals over the age of 21 are permitted to carry as much as one ounce of marijuana. Licensed growers may cultivate marijuana on their premises, but individuals are only allowed to cultivate marijuana for medical use.
In Alaska, marijuana was legalized with the November 4, 2012 passage of Measure 2. Under the law, the possession and sale of the substance is totally legal for medical and recreational use. Residents are legally allowed to transport as much as one ounce of marijuana. Cultivation of up to six plants is legal for private individuals. Commercial growers can cultivate the same number of plants with the requisite license.
In Oregon, the possession of marijuana is currently legal, although full legalization will occur with the passage of two laws. The sale, transport, and cultivation of marijuana are currently allowed only for medical purposes. The regulations governing the sale of marijuana will be issued at a future date. On July 1, 2015, non-medical users will be allowed to transport as much as 1 ounce of marijuana. State residents will be allowed to transport larger amounts by January 1, 2016.
District of Columbia
In the District of Columbia, the possession of marijuana is legal, as is its sale for medical use. There are currently no stipulations for its commercial sale or cultivation. Residents can grow as many as six plants (with only three being mature), and transport as much as two ounces or 56 grams. Although the 1998 passage of Initiative 59 effectively legalized medical marijuana in the state, its effectiveness was blocked until 2009 by Congress. Mayor Vincent Gray also decriminalized marijuana possession up to an ounce in 2014. On November 4, 2014, Initiative 71 effectively legalized the possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal recreational use. Commercial production and sale remain illegal in D.C.