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Marijuana Laws by State

Author:XpertHR Editorial Team

California broke new ground when it passed the nation's first law to legalize medical marijuana law in 1996. While the federal government has not followed the Golden State's lead, many other states have. In all, more than half of the states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana - which some laws refer to as medical cannabis - to treat serious health conditions.

Courts generally have held that employers need not hire a job applicant who tests positive on a preemployment drug test for marijuana regardless of the reason. Its usage during work hours also has not been sanctioned. Thus, these laws do not affect an employer's ability to maintain a drug-free workplace policy.

However, a few states go further than California. For instance, Connecticut's law specifically bans employers from refusing to hire a job applicant or discharging an employee solely because of that person's status as a "qualifying patient". The Connecticut measure also extends protections to "primary caregivers".

And since 2012, voters in some states have approved ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana use in small amounts. This chart reflects the states that have passed legalization laws.


State Medical Marijuana Recreational Marijuana
Alabama No No
Alaska Yes Yes
Arkansas Yes No
Arizona Yes No
California Yes Yes
Colorado Yes Yes
Connecticut Yes No
Delaware Yes No
District of Columbia Yes Yes
Florida Yes No
Georgia Yes No
Hawaii Yes No
Idaho No No
Illinois Yes Yes
Indiana No No
Iowa No No
Kansas No No
Kentucky No No
Louisiana Yes No
Maine Yes Yes
Maryland Yes No
Massachusetts Yes Yes
Michigan Yes Yes
Minnesota Yes No
Mississippi No No
Missouri Yes No
Montana Yes No
Nebraska No No
Nevada Yes Yes
New Hampshire Yes No
New Jersey Yes No
New Mexico Yes No
New York Yes No
North Carolina No No
North Dakota Yes No
Ohio Yes No
Oklahoma Yes No
Oregon Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Yes No
Rhode Island Yes No
South Carolina No No
South Dakota No No
Tennessee No No
Texas No No
Utah Yes No
Vermont Yes Yes
Virginia No No
Washington Yes Yes
West Virginia Yes No
Wisconsin No No
Wyoming No No