LEGAL 101: States That Have Legalized Cannabis for Recreational Use

These are current as of March 17, 2017.

 

Here are the list of states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use, along with a short history of the state's relationship with marijuana. 

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On November 4, 2014, Alaska legalized Measure 2 which allowed Alaskan's age 21 or older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis. Although, it was legalized on November 4th, Measure 2 did not go into effect until February 24, 2015. Alaska was the third state to legalize recreational marijuana, following Colorado and Washington. 

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*Recreational Use in California will be effective January 2018


California has been through multiple legislative effects in regards to marijuana. In 1975, then governor Jerry Brown enacted Senate Bill 95, which allowed for the possession of an ounce of marijuana to be dropped to a misdemeanor. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana under Proposition 215. Finally, in 2016, under Proposition 64, recreational cannabis usage became legal and passed with a vote of 57% to 43%. 

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On November 6, 2012, Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use in the Colorado Amendment 64. Amendment 64 allowed for the sale and possession of marijuana that was non-medical. It also allows for private cultivation of up to six plants. 

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Maine has had a long history with the legalization of cannabis. It started in 1913, where Maine banned the use of cannabis. In 1976, Maine was the third state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis. By 1999, medical marijuana was legalized, and in 2006, possession of 2.5 ounces or less is only a civil infraction.

Through the passage of the Marijuana Legalization Act, in 2016, it allowed for cannabis to be legally grown and possessed to members who are not apart of the medicinal community. 

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Massachusetts and it's relationship with marijuana dates back to 1911, where they were the first state to prohibit the sale of "Indian Hemp" without a prescription on a state level. In 2008, Massachusetts voters passed a ballot that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. By 2012, the state of Massachusetts approved Question 3, which allowed for the use of medical marijuana. On November 8, 2016, Massachusetts voters passed the ballot initiative which made recreational cannabis legal in the entire state.

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Medical marijuana was legalized in Nevada on November 7, 2000. Nevada voters passed the ballot initiative for the use of medical marijuana with 65% of the populace voting yes on Question 9. 16 years later on November 8, the state legalized recreational marijuana with a 54% of the populace voting yes on Question 2. 

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From 1999 to 2005, the ratio of Oregonians using cannabis outpaced the general United States population by 32-45%. In 2014, Oregon voters approved Measure 91, which allowed for legal possession and sale of set amounts of marijuana which means that it legalized non-medical cultivation and uses of marijuana. By 2015, Governor Kate Brown signed a bill that sets a cannabis sales tax at 25%.  

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By the Washington Initiative 502 in 2012, marijuana was legalized in the state of Washington. Although, it requires state licenses from all sellers, distributors, and producers of marijuana. It also allows for anyone aged 21 and over to carry up to an ounce of cannabis. The state allows licensed growers to cultivate marijuana, but does not permit personal growing in one's home unless it is for medical use.