Many states are starting to make changes regarding the legalization of cannabis. While cannabis is still illegal on the federal level, states have a differing level of legalization when it comes to the substance. 

In states where cannabis is entirely legal, like Illinois, Montana, and Washington, the substance can be used for medicinal purposes and recreationally and taxed similarly to alcohol. The number of states where cannabis is fully legal is up to eighteen as of January 2022. There are also several other states considering the full legalization of cannabis.

Medical Cannabis

In several states, cannabis can be used medicinally but is still illegal for recreational use. These nineteen states have passed legislation to allow for medicinal cannabis and often have state-run medical marijuana programs. Like those in Missouri and Utah, these programs include restrictions on what conditions medical cannabis can be used to treat and the steps needed for patients to get it. Thirteen states have not legalized cannabis for recreational or medicinal uses.

Recreational Use

However, it’s important to note that marijuana legalization goes beyond which states allow for medicinal use and recreational use. In some states, recreational use of cannabis is still illegal, but it has been decriminalized. This means possession of a small amount of marijuana or a first offense will have a penalty other than jail time, including a fine or community service. In Nebraska and North Carolina, both recreational and medicinal cannabis is illegal, but marijuana use itself is decriminalized. 

Ten of the nineteen states which allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes have not also decriminalized recreational marijuana use. There are twenty-one states where marijuana has not been decriminalized statewide. In some instances, individual cities and towns have decriminalized marijuana locally. This is despite not having decriminalization on the state level.

Four states do not allow any cannabis use and have not decriminalized its use. Marijuana is considered fully illegal in Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, and South Carolina. There are also seven states, including Texas and Georgia, where cannabis use is unlawful and not decriminalized, but CBD oil products are allowed. CBD oil is derived from marijuana but is not a psychoactive substance.