January 2023 Weed Legalization State of Affairs

by The True Negative

As we enter 2023, much has changed in the world of weed legalization. Recreational weed is now legal in 22 states, while nearly all states have some shade of weed tolerance. Alas, there are still some holdout states where any type of possession of recreational weed is an absolute no-no. To make it easier to understand the different shades of weed legalization, we’ve done all of the research for you.

Recreational – 22 states
In January 2020, there were 12 states where recreational weed was legal. Since then, 10 other states have joined the ranks, with Maryland, Missouri, and Rhode Island some of the more recent states to sign bills making recreational weed legal in 2022. While some states had already signed bills into law prior to 2022 that made recreational weed legal, it wasn’t until 2022 that some states such as Vermont, Montana, New Jersey, New York, and New Mexico actually passed laws to allow for the sale of recreational weed. When it comes to delaying the start of actual recreational sales, Washington DC remains in a class of its own. Despite recreational weed becoming legal in 2015, dispensaries are STILL not allowed to open in DC.

These are the states where marijuana is legal for recreational usage:
• Alaska
• Arizona
• California
• Colorado
• Connecticut
• Maine
• Maryland
• Massachusetts
• Michigan
• Missouri
• Montana
• New Jersey
• New Mexico
• New York
• Oregon
• Rhode Island
• Vermont
• Virginia
• Washington
• Washington DC

Medicinal Only – 16 states
In January 2020, there were 23 states where medicinal use only was allowed. While this number has shrunk since then, the decrease is due to some states moving further up the chain to full recreational legalization. These states are: Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Rhode Island. On the other end, Alabama has moved from the illegal category up to the medicinal only category.

These are the states where recreational weed is prohibited but medicinal weed is allowed:

Delaware (plus recreational decriminalized)
Hawaii (plus recreational decriminalized)
Louisiana (plus recreational decriminalized)
Minnesota (plus recreational decriminalized)
Mississippi (plus recreational decriminalized)
New Hampshire (plus recreational decriminalized)
North Dakota (plus recreational decriminalized)
Ohio (plus recreational decriminalized)
Pennsylvania (recreational decriminalized in select cities)
South Dakota
West Virginia

Illegal – 13 states
These states continue to be the laggards. Not surprisingly, most of these states are in the South or the Midwest. While no states have regressed into this category after previously allowing recreational and/or medicinal weed, Virginia stands out as a state that went from having weed illegal in 2020 to jumping ahead in 2021 to pass a bill making recreational weed legal. Sales for weed won’t start until 2024, though.

These are the states where weed is illegal:

Nebraska (decriminalized)
North Carolina (decriminalized)
Georgia (decriminalized in select cities)
South Carolina

As always, we would love to hear about your experiences with marijuana testing in all states. Anonymously submit your information here.

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