Where Is Marijuana Legal in the United States? List of Recreational and Medicinal States
On Nov. 8, 2016, voters in nine states decided whether or not to legalize marijuana. Five of those states — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada — saw ballot initiatives to legalize weed for recreational purposes. Voters in Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota decided whether to legalize medical cannabis. Montana voted on expanding medical marijuana rights.
As the election results rolled in, Florida was the first to officially announce it had legalized medical marijuana. North Dakota and Arkansas followed.
California and Massachusetts were the first of the states considering recreational pot to legalize it. Nevada soon followed.
In mid-April, Pennsylvania passed legislation to legalize medical marijuana, bringing the total number of states (plus Washington, D.C.) with some form of legal pot to 24. The majority of those states have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes, however recreational marijuana use is fully leg al in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia.
Here are states with legal recreational marijuana:
Here are states with medical marijuana:
18. New Hampshire
19. New Jersey
20. New Mexico
21. New York
22. North Dakota
25. Rhode Island
Ahead of the election, marijuana advocates believed there was a chance for at least 11 more states to legalize recreational marijuana in the near term.
In February, the District of Columbia decriminalized recreational marijuana, making it legal for residents to carry up to two ounces of cannabis and own six plants. However, it's still illegal to purchase pot in the District, WTTG reports.
The exorbitant cost of incarceration is one factor causing states to decriminalize cannabis, President Barack Obama said in a March interview with Vice News.
"It costs a huge amount of money to states," Obama said, speaking to Vice's Shane Smith. "What I'm encouraged by is you're started to see not just liberal democrats but also some very conservative Republicans recognize that this doesn't make sense, including the libertarian wing of the Republican Party. They see the money and how costly it is to incarcerate.
"At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, Congress may then reschedule marijuana."
The legalization of recreational marijuana gives rise to a whole new economy surrounding the sale of cannabis, oils, lotions, edibles and paraphernalia. Advertising efforts are starting to crop up to support these industries, though marijuana marketing is highly regulated state by state, according to Ad Exchanger. However, those states that are blazing trails in the cannabis market are beginning to see tax revenues soar as a result.
During the last fiscal year, which ended late June, marijuana-specific tax revenue in Colorado hit $70 million, Time reports. That's nearly twice what the state raked in from alcohol tax revenue during that same time.
In the United States, sales of legal marijuana hit $2.7 billion last year, up from $1.5 billion in 2013, according to cannabis investment and research firm ArcView Group. If full legalization were to occur in all 50 states and D.C., the U.S. marijuana retail market could top $35 billion in revenue by 2020, according to estimates from independent research firm GreenWave Advisers. That's a lot of green.
Nov. 10, 2016, 12:15 p.m. EDT: This story has been updated.