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The United States is gradually becoming the land of the red,
white, and green.
After a historic election cycle, which saw four states pass
ballot initiatives legalizing nonmedical marijuana,
one in five Americans now live in a state where
it’s legal to smoke weed without a doctor’s letter.
The industry is on track to post
$20.2 billion in sales by 2021.
Here’s a summary of where Americans can light up legally so far
Adults 21 and over can light up in Alaska. In early 2015, the
northernmost US state made it legal for residents to use,
possess, and transport up to an ounce of marijuana — roughly a
sandwich bag full — for recreational use. The first pot shop
opened for business last October.
California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana back in
1996, became even more pot-friendly in 2016 when it made it legal
to use and carry up to an ounce of marijuana without a
There’s no place to legally buy bud, however, until January 1,
2018, when the state begins issuing licenses to marijuana
dispensaries that allow them to sell nonmedical weed.
Those eager to light up before 2018 can still do so by
becoming a medical marijuana patient. And if you happen to
find yourself in possession of a friend’s marijuana, that works,
In Colorado, where
there are more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks and
McDonalds locations combined, residents and tourists alike can
buy up to one ounce of weed. The state joined Washington in
becoming the first two states to legalize recreational
marijuana in 2012.
The most nail-biting ballot initiative of the 2016 Election
gave Mainers the right to possess a whopping
2.5 ounces of marijuana
, more than double the limit in
most other states. It goes into effect on January 30, nearly one
month after the governor signed the bill into
Retail stores will not open doors until 2018.
On December 15, Massachusetts began allowing residents to carry
and consume small amounts of weed and grow up to 12 plants in
The future of the state’s adult-use market remains hazy, however.
A bill signed by the governor over the holidays
delayed the timetable for opening retail stores from early
2018 to mid-year.
Voters in Nevada gave a resounding yes to recreational marijuana
on Election Day. January 1, it became legal to possess up to an
ounce of pot. The ballot measure directs Nevada’s taxation office
to implement regulations by the end of 2017 in preparation for a
2018 retail launch.
There’s bad news if you want to grow your own bud, though.
must live 25 miles outside the nearest dispensary in order to
become eligible for a grower’s license.
Summer 2015, Oregonians got the green light to carry up to
an ounce of weed and grow up to four plants at home. It’s
also legal to give edibles
as a gift, so long as they’re ingested in private.
Oregon enjoyed knockout sales during the state’s first year
of legal marijuana. Dispensaries
generated nearly $15 million in tax revenue between July 2015
and June 2016.
Dispensaries in Washington
raked in over $1 billion in non-medical marijuana sales since
the drug was legalized for recreational use back in 2012. The
state allows people to carry up to one ounce of marijuana, but
require the drug for medicinal purposes in order to be
eligible for a grower’s license. So you can smoke it, but not
grow it, if you’re toking for fun.
Residents in the nation’s capital voted in overwhelming favor to
legalize nonmedical marijuana in November 2014. The bill took
effect almost a year ago, allowing people to possess up to two
ounces of pot and “gift” up to one ounce, if neither money nor
goods or services are exchanged.
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