Which States Have Medical Marijuana Laws?

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a plant used to relieve pain and other symptoms associated with some medical conditions. It contains chemicals called cannabinoids that can be smoked or eaten to provide therapeutic effects.

Medicinal marijuana is prescribed by doctors to treat pain, nausea and appetite loss from certain diseases and conditions. It can be administered in various forms including capsules, lozenges, oils and suppositories.


Arizona law allows patients to purchase medical marijuana in many forms, including capsules, patches, oils, and edibles. They can also cultivate up to twelve plants at their residence.

Medical marijuana users are protected from workplace sanctions if they are in compliance with state regulations and do not appear impaired at work. However, this protection does not extend to federal jobs or positions that carry a safety risk.


In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, The Compassionate Use Act (CUA). It offers basic protection for patients and caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana.

State ID cards are voluntary and can help defuse interactions with law enforcement. However, they cannot protect against federal prosecution. The program is limited to patients with a doctor’s recommendation. Medical patients can grow up to six plants.


Colorado’s first medical marijuana law was a constitutional amendment passed by voters authorizing patients and their caregivers to possess and grow marijuana. The Health Department tried to limit caregivers to five patients, but Sensible Colorado successfully challenged this policy in a court case.

Medicinal cannabis is legal in Iowa, but the program is fairly limited. Patients can purchase tinctures for a list of conditions, but they cannot smoke flower or consume edibles.


Cannabis is legal in Connecticut for both medical and recreational use. Adults 21 and over can possess up to 5 ounces of marijuana, and may store or transport it in any manner that is not visible to others. Medical patients can grow up to three mature and three immature plants, and 12 total plants per household.

Physicians that certify qualifying patients are protected from criminal and civil penalties. This includes physicians who have financial interests in dispensaries.


Medicinal marijuana is legal in Delaware via the state’s medical cannabis program. However, recreational weed sales remain illegal while the state sets up regulations and licensing provisions for an adult-use market.

That should take some time. Meanwhile, residents can possess up to 1 ounce for recreational use. Home cultivation remains illegal. HB1 and a companion bill establishing a recreational industry went into effect on April 23.

District of Columbia

It took a long time for the District of Columbia to pass marijuana reform, but its voters eventually got what they wanted. The District has a medical marijuana program that is regulated under state regulations.

Adults 21 and over can self-certify for a medical marijuana card. Residents are also allowed to cultivate up to six plants, three of which must be mature.


The Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) oversees a statewide registry of qualified patients and caregivers. It also licenses businesses to cultivate, process and dispense low-THC marijuana.

The OMMU requires MMTCs to use seed-to-sale tracking software. Only licensed patients or caregivers can transport medical marijuana or delivery devices in vehicles.

Employers in Florida should be aware of current case law on employee marijuana testing and drug accommodation.


Georgia’s law protects qualified patients and their caregivers from criminal prosecution for possessing low-THC oil. A patient or caregiver must bring their registry card and government ID when purchasing medical marijuana.

The state’s pharmacies have now started to dispense medical cannabis. They are selling products from the first licensed producer, Botanical Sciences. The pharmacy-based distribution model expands the number of Georgians who can buy medical marijuana.


Despite federal laws that classify marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, medical cannabis in Hawaii is accessible to registered patients and caregivers. Patients are allowed to possess up to four ounces of medical cannabis and cultivate up to 10 plants.

In 2000, Hawaii became the first state to legalize medical marijuana through legislation rather than ballot initiatives. Patients with valid registry ID cards are protected from prosecution.


Illinois is the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through legislation rather than a ballot initiative. Its Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act allows adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of cannabis flower. Public consumption is illegal, as is transporting or growing cannabis across state lines.

To qualify for a medical card, patients must have one of the state’s established debilitating conditions. The state also expunges low-level marijuana convictions.

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