States That Legally Regulate Medical and/or Adult Social Use of Marijuana

As of June 27, 2018, a total of 30 states plus the District of Columbia and Guam have what are called "effective" state medical marijuana laws, and one more state has created an academic program which may in the future help that state's patients. These states include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state, and West Virginia.

Eight states have legalized adult (aged 21 and older) personal use of marijuana and legally regulate the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington state. Additionally, the state of Vermont and the District of Columbia have legalized limited personal possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults aged 21 and older.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project: "Currently, 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have laws on the books that recognize marijuana’s medical value -- or the value of certain strains:
"-- Since 1996, 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have enacted laws that effectively allow patients to use and access medical marijuana despite federal law. To be effective, a state law must remove criminal penalties for patients who use and possess medical marijuana with their doctors’ approval or certification. Effective laws must also have a realistic means for patients to access marijuana, such as by growing it at home or buying it at a dispensary. Finally, the laws must allow patients to either smoke or vaporize marijuana or marijuana oils and must allow for a variety of strains of marijuana, including both strains with higher and lower amounts of THC.
"-- One state, Louisiana, has an ineffective law that recognizes marijuana’s medical value but relies on doctors and pharmacies breaking federal law.
"-- An additional 16 states allow only low-THC marijuana or cannabis oils. Most of those laws — much like dozens of ineffective medical marijuana laws enacted before 1996 -- are unlikely to provide patients with relief until federal law changes. Several depend on risk-averse individuals and institutions, such as universities, to break federal law by distributing cannabis. Others have no means of in-state access to cannabis preparations at all."


Marijuana Policy Project, "State by State Medical Marijuana Laws 2015 with a December 2016 Supplement - How to Remove the Threat of Arrest," (Washington, DC: MPP, February 2017), p. 1, last accessed September 27, 2017.
Specifically in regard to West Virginia, see
Vermont: "Governor Phil Scott Signs H.511," Office of the Governor of Vermont, News Release, Jan. 22, 2018.
"An act relating to eliminating penalties for possession of limited amounts of marijuana by adults 21 years of age or older"
Oklahoma: Oklahoma State Question 788, Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (June 2018)