Definitions of Legal Statuses for Cannabis
Before you head out to buy legal pot in the states, you’ll need to understand the definitions for each of the legal statuses for cannabis.
Many people think that decriminalizing cannabis is the same as legalizing the plant. However, the two legal statuses are quite different. Under decriminalization, people in possession of cannabis will receive fines instead of being booked with a crime and facing potential incarceration. In decriminalized states, law enforcement typically turns a blind eye to consumers possessing only a small amount of weed.
Growing and selling cannabis remain illegal in decriminalized states, and anyone caught growing, selling, or intending to sell marijuana may still face jail time. Unfortunately, this means that people who wish to consume cannabis, even for medicinal purposes, must rely on the black market. Currently, North Dakota is the only state on our weed map that maintains a decriminalized status.
In states where cannabis is medically legal, residents with qualifying health conditions may legally possess and consume personal amounts of cannabis. Patients need to obtain a medical identification card and a doctor’s recommendation and may only purchase cannabis through state-sanctioned providers. In November, Arizona passed a measure to legalize adult recreational cannabis use, changing the state’s status to fully legal. However, recreational sales aren’t expected to begin until at least April of 2021.
States such as New Mexico have laws that combine marijuana legalization for medical use with decriminalization for adult recreational use. Several states on our weed legalization map fall into this category.
Adults can buy, possess, and consume cannabis without a doctor’s recommendation or medical ID card in states with fully legal status. The age of adulthood and the quantities you can purchase and possess at one time varies from legal state to legal state. Local regulations may also be more restrictive than the state allows. We suggest that you consult state and local laws before you head out to buy weed in legal states.
In states where marijuana is still fully illegal, people who possess cannabis may face serious criminal charges and incarceration for even a small amount of weed. Travelers would be wise to leave any herb behind when crossing into a state where cannabis is still fully illegal. Keep in mind that CBD products may also be prohibited in a fully illegal state, despite hemp-derived CBD’s federally legal status.