Medical marijuana laws can be somewhat confusing, and differ substantially depending on where you’re located. At the federal level, cannabis with a THC content of more than 0.3% is illegal. However, individual states are permitted to make their own decisions on legalizing medicinal use within state lines.
Legality of THC vs. CBD
The legal differences between THC and CBD come down to medicinal applications and intoxicating, psychoactive properties. THC is the primary cannabinoid within cannabis. While THC has been shown to have promising medical applications, it also causes the psychoactive effect or “high” that is sought by recreational users. Cannabidiol (CBD), another cannabinoid that exists in high proportions within the cannabis plant, is a non-intoxicating compound that provides a plethora of medicinal benefits without the high that comes with THC.
CBD was essentially legalized with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally permitted forms of cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, commonly referred to as “hemp.” The aim of this was to make hemp an agricultural commodity, while allowing legal access to an effective, non-intoxicating medicine. The potential applications of hemp and CBD are numerous and wide-ranging, from medical applications such as CBD oils and topicals to industrial uses such as textiles, rope and fuel.
Cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC is referred to as “whole-plant medical marijuana.” While THC remains federally illegal, the federal government has given individual states the right to set their own medical marijuana laws, permitting strains that contain significant amounts of THC if they choose to do so. In states that do permit cannabis that’s high in THC, patients must fulfil the following conditions before obtaining their medicine.
- Have a qualifying medical condition
- Be a resident of the state
- Receive a recommendation from a licensed physician
- Obtain a medical marijuana card
Where Is Medical Marijuana Legal?
There are currently 33 states and Washington, D.C. where whole-plant medical marijuana is legal. The states are:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia
Growing Your Own Medical Marijuana
You may be asking yourself: “Am I permitted to grow my own medical marijuana at home?” The short answer is it depends on which state you live in. Home cultivation of medical marijuana is on the rise. Not only is home cultivation a more cost-efficient method of obtain medicinal cannabis, it also allows patients to have complete control over their medicine, from seed to harvest.
- Alaska: Someone who is at least 21 years old can legally possess, grow, process or transport no more than six plants. No more than three of those plants may be mature at any one time.
- Arizona: If a medical marijuana patient lives more than 25 miles away from a dispensary, they or an approved caregiver may grow up to 12 plants.
- California: Adults over the age of 21 may cultivate up to six plants. Patients and their primary caregivers are permitted to cultivate up to six plants. Patients and caregivers may grow more if a doctor determines it is necessary for the patient.
- Colorado: Any Colorado resident may grow up to six plants per person. No more than three of these plants can be flowering. No more than 12 plants are allowed per residence, regardless of the number of people living there.
- Connecticut: Home cultivation is not allowed.
- Delaware: Home cultivation is not permitted.
- District of Columbia: An adult that is at least 21 years old may grow up to six plants in their residence, with no more than three flowering plants.
- Florida: Home cultivation is not permitted.
- Hawaii: Patients may grow what is considered an “adequate supply” of medicine, or no more than 10 plants total. It must be registered on the patient’s card that they are allowed to grow.
- Illinois: Home cultivation is not permitted.
- Maine: Maine residents may cultivate a maximum of six mature plants, twelve immature plants, and unlimited seedlings.
- Maryland: Home cultivation is not permitted.
- Massachusetts: Adults over the age of 21 may cultivate up to six mature plants for personal use, with a maximum of 12 regardless of the number of people living in the residence.
- Michigan: A person 21 years or over may cultivate up to 12 cannabis plants for personal use, given the plants are in an enclosed and locked space.
- Minnesota: Home cultivation is not permitted.
- Missouri: A medical cardholder may grow up to six plants under 14 inches tall, six in the vegetative state, and six in the flowering stage.
- Montana: A registered cardholder may possess up to one ounce of usable marijuana, four mature plants, and twelve seedlings.
- Nevada: A person 21 years or older may grow up to six plants with no more than 12 per residence, given they live more than 25 miles away from the nearest dispensary. Medical cardholders may grow up 12 plants regardless of the plant’s maturity.
- New Hampshire: Home cultivation is not permitted.
- New Jersey: Growing cannabis at home is not permitted.
- New Mexico: Medical patients may apply for a license to grow up to four mature plants and 12 seedlings. They cannot grow without an approved application.
- New York: Home cultivation is not permitted.
- North Dakota: If a patient lives 40 miles or more away from a dispensary, the patient is legally permitted to cultivate up to 8 plants within an enclosed, locked facility a minimum of 1000 feet from any public school.
- Ohio: Home cultivation is not allowed in Ohio.
- Oklahoma: Qualified medical cannabis patients are allowed to cultivate up to 12 plants, with no more than six plants in flower.
- Oregon: Recreational consumers that are at least 21 years old may cultivate up to four plants per residence. Medical cannabis patients may possess up to six plants. Registered caregivers may not have more than four patients at a time, and may not grow more than six plants per patient.
- Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania does not allow home cultivation.
- Rhode Island: Patients are permitted to grow up to 12 plants and 12 seedlings at any one time. All plants must be cultivated at one location within an indoor facility.
- Vermont: A patient may possess no more than two mature plants and seven immature plants. Caregivers have the same limits for their patients.
- Washington: A qualifying patient may grow up to six plants, and possess 8 oz of cannabis from said plants. If a doctor decides it is in the patient’s best interest to have more medicine, they may grow up to 15 plants and possess up to 16 oz from said plants.
- West Virginia: Home cultivation is not allowed.
Medical Marijuana Possession
The amount of medical marijuana patients can have in their possession varies from state to state.
- Alaska: Those who are 21 years of age and older may possess, use, transport, display and purchase no more than one ounce of cannabis.
- Arizona: A qualified patient or caregiver may possess up to 2.5 oz of cannabis in a 14-day period from a registered non-profit dispensary.
- California: Adults over the age of 21 may possess 28.5 grams of usable marijuana and eight grams of cannabis concentrate.
- Colorado: Residents may purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis at a time.
- Connecticut: The combined amount of marijuana possessed by the patient and the primary caregiver does not exceed an amount of usable marijuana reasonably necessary to ensure uninterrupted availability for a period of one month.
- Delaware: Patients may possess six ounces or less of medical cannabis.
- District of Columbia: A person who is 21 years or older may possess two ounces or less of cannabis and transfer one ounce or less to another person 21 years of age or older, so long as it is a gift and no payment or exchange of goods or services is made.
- Florida: Patients in Florida are permitted to possess up to four ounces of cannabis is the recommending physician opines “that the benefits of smoking marijuana for medical use outweigh the risks for the qualified patient.”
- Illinois: A patient may possess 2.5 ounces every 14 days as long as it is derived from a source within the state.
- Maine: A qualifying patient or adult over the age of 21 may possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, 2.5 ounces of concentrate, and 2.5 ounces of cannabis-infused edibles.
- Maryland: Qualified medical patients may possess a sufficient 30-day supply of marijuana for medical use which is up to 120 grams of usable cannabis (primarily dried flower) or up to 36 grams of cannabis-infused products according to the Commission.
- Massachusetts: Those 21 and over can possess any combination of one ounce of usable cannabis in a public setting, up to 10 oz in a private (home) setting, up to five grams of cannabis concentrate.
- Michigan: Any adult over the age of 21 may possess up to 2.5 oz of usable cannabis, including up to 15 grams of cannabis concentrate, as well as storing up to 10 oz within a private residence, given it is locked away and stored in a secure location.
- Minnesota: A qualifying patient may possess a 30-day supply dependant on their needs recommended by their doctor.
- Missouri: Patients can possess up to eight ounces of cannabis.
- Montana: A registered cardholder may possess up to one ounce of usable cannabis, four mature plants, and 12 seedlings.
- Nevada: Those over the age of 21 may possess up to one ounce of usable cannabis and 3.5 grams of concentrate.
- New Hampshire: A patient may purchase no more than two ounces during a 10-day period, and may not possess more than two ounces at any given time
- New Jersey: Patients are prescribed a possession amount from their doctors for a 30-day period. The amount will not exceed two ounces. If no amount is noted, the maximum amount dispensed will be two ounces.
- New Mexico: Qualified patients can possess up to eight ounces.
- New York: The marijuana that may be possessed by a certified patient shall not exceed a 30-day supply of the dosage as determined by their doctor.
- North Dakota: Patients are permitted to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis.
- Ohio: Patients may possess a 90-day supply of cannabis, defined as no more than eight ounces of marijuana.
- Oklahoma: Oklahoma patients may possess up to three ounces of usable marijuana, up to one ounce of cannabis concentrate, up to seventy-two ounces of edible cannabis, and up to eight ounces within a private residence.
- Oregon: Adults 21 years or older may possess one ounce of usable marijuana in a public place, up to to eight ounces of usable marijuana, up to sixteen ounces of cannabinoid products in solid form, up to seventy-two ounces of cannabinoid products in liquid form, up to five grams of cannabinoid extracts or concentrates, whether sold alone of contained in an inhalant delivery system.
- Pennsylvania: Patients may possess a 30-day supply. Only topicals, oils, pills, tinctures, and infused liquids are allowed.
- Rhode Island: A cardholder may not possess more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis.
- Vermont: A cannabis patient may possess up to 2 ounces of usable marijuana.
- Washington: Medical patients in Washington may possess 48 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, three ounces of usable marijuana, 216 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form, or 21 grams of marijuana concentrate.
- West Virginia: A 30-day supply yet to be defined of an acceptable forms of marijuana.
Do you see areas of improvement for laws surrounding medical marijuana in the United States? If so, what are they? Leave us a comment and let us know.