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How Many States Have Legalized Weed?

by | Last updated Oct 5, 2020 at 9:39AM | Published on Nov 5, 2014 | Drug Addiction

States That Legalized Marijuana

Decades ago, thinking about legalized marijuana was seen as an impossible task. However, marijuana laws are changing rapidly across the United States. Trying to keep up with how many states have legalized weed can be challenging as laws keep changing every year. Let’s explore the marijuana laws across the nation and what they mean to the world of addiction. 

Marijuana Laws at Federal Level vs. State Legislature

One of the most confusing parts of marijuana laws is that all marijuana — recreational and medicinal — remains illegal on a federal level. The federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I, alongside heroin and cocaine. These drugs all carry a high potential for abuse and little to no medical benefit under this classification. 

As a result, there’s a conflict between the federal and state legislature. Some states can find themselves using medicinal marijuana and comply with state law, while simultaneously federal law. It gets even more confusing when we talk about recreational marijuana use laws. 

Despite these laws, a poll in 2019 found that 65% of US adults believe marijuana should be legal, hitting a new historical high. 

States That Have Legalized Recreational Marijuana Map

States That Have Legalized Recreational Marijuana

Marijuana is currently legal for recreational use in 12 states, including:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington State
  • District of Columbia

Of course, each state has its own laws regarding recreational weed. For example, many states have laws that allow people to carry an ounce of marijuana for recreational use and sale without getting in trouble with law enforcement.

States That Have Legalized Medical Marijuana

States That Have Legalized Medical Marijuana

Many states that have legalized recreational marijuana also legalized medicinal marijuana. Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, including:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

However, some states that legalized medical marijuana have not decriminalized the sales or possession of marijuana. For examples, states that have not decriminalized marijuana include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. 

Marijuana Legalization and Addiction Statistics

Marijuana Legalization and Addiction

Several states have various ballot initiatives to ask voters’ opinions on recreational marijuana use measures in 2020. At the same time, other states are still preparing similar legislation to open the marijuana discussion for 2021. 

Those who oppose legalization believe that making marijuana legal can fuel marijuana addiction and cause an epidemic. While there’s not enough research to determine whether the legalization of marijuana leads to more cases of addiction, one study shows interesting findings.

A study suggests that marijuana legalization leads to more cannabis use and addiction, particularly among adults 26 and older. The study authors don’t believe the study’s findings should stop the legalization of marijuana, but instead, these findings provide educational information to users.

After closely examining the results, the study found that marijuana use, frequent use, and marijuana use disorder increased among older adults in states with marijuana laws. Among those adults in states with marijuana legislation, their past-month regular use went from 2.13 to 2.62 percent, while past-year cannabis addiction went from 0.9 to 1.23 percent. While the findings might seem small, they are a significant indicator of a correlation. 

However, the study is based on self-reports. This could lead to differences between legalization and non-legalization states if people don’t feel comfortable sharing their marijuana use. This is one of the first studies of its kind, so hopefully, more studies will clarify the correlation. 

Finding Help for Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana Addiction Statistics

While rare, marijuana use disorder, chronic users are at risk of developing an addiction. The latest data suggest that at least 30% of marijuana users have some degree of dependence. Those who start using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop marijuana addiction than those who start using it as adults. 

There’s no doubt marijuana addiction can be challenging to fight, especially with the substance becoming legal in so many states. Many addiction treatment centers count with addiction specialists that can guide people through their recovery. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our drug rehab programs include:

Medical Detox: In this clinically supervised detox process at the rehab center, we ensure the patient’s safety and make the withdrawal phase as comfortable as possible by minimizing withdrawal symptoms and using medication-assisted treatment services to guarantee a complete detoxification process. 

Intensive Outpatient Programs: When patients are looking to seek addiction treatment while maintaining daily obligations like work, school, or caregiving, IOPs are a more flexible option that still gives people access to the help they need. 

Group Therapy: Recovering addicts need to build a healthy support system that encourages their recovery and sobriety. Group therapy gives them a safe space to foster these relationships and continue working through their recovery after leaving inpatient treatment programs. 

Long-term Recovery Programs: With long-term recovery assistance, patients can have the ongoing support they need to maintain long-lasting sobriety. Recovery programs are crucial to relapse prevention. 

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorders, reach an addiction treatment facility today. Our substance abuse programs at Lighthouse Recovery Institute offer comprehensive, individualized treatment programs that cater to your unique needs. We will walk your addiction recovery journey by your side, every step of the way. And our team will be here to guide you through the early stages of recovery, offering the ongoing support you need to succeed. 

We offer unique and personalized treatment plans because we believe no two addictions are alike. The journey towards recovery is a long one, but together and with your family and friends’ support, we’ll make it. Whether you or a loved one is thinking about starting addiction treatment, don’t delay it. Start your addiction treatment journey today. 

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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