Even as Americans grow more divided politically, cannabis continues to gain ground with every election cycle—five states legalized weed this year, four of them for recreational use. That brings the number of states where recreational use is permitted to 15; cannabis (as opposed to THC-free CBD) is still wholly illegal in 15 states. Every other state falls somewhere in-between.
Of course, weed is also still illegal at the federal level. It’s classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, putting it in the same category as heroin and other drugs considered to have “no medical use” and a high potential for abuse and dependence. Though efforts are underway to change the classification, for now, state laws simply allow exemptions for certain uses.
Here’s a rundown of where weed is legal for recreational and medical use (and where it isn’t).
States that legalized weed in November 2020
Five states had marijuana measures on the ballot in this year’s election—and all five approved weed by a solid margin.
- Arizona: Prop 207 legalized marijuana growth, possession, and sales for those over 21. It will also expunge some past marijuana-related criminal offenses. Arizonans will be allowed to grow and possess limited amounts of weed after Nov. 30, and the state expects to begin sales by April 20, 2021. Mississippi: Initiative 65 launches a medical marijuana program in Mississippi for 22 health conditions. The law takes effect in August 2021. Montana: While Montana already allowed medical marijuana, Initiative 190 legalized possession, recreational use, and sales to adults over 21. It also permits those convicted of weed-related crimes to apply for resentencing or expungement. Most of the measure will take effect on Oct. 1, 2021. The initiative has