Alaska, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational use. In Alaska, adults 21 and older can now transport, buy or possess up to an ounce of marijuana and six plants. Oregon voters approved a similar measure allowing adults to posses up to an ounce of marijuana in public and eight ounces in their homes, effective July 1, 2015. Colorado and Washington previously passed similar ballot measures legalizing marijuana in 2012.
In the four states that have so far approved legal weed—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington—limits on possession are (or will be) set at an ounce of marijuana, however, in D.C., the limit will be two ounces.
D.C.’s legalization rules are similar in many ways to those in the states that approved legalization. Here’s a quick look at some of the ways in which they compare:
- Consumption is banned in public and on federal land and property in all four states and in the District of Columbia.
- Home-growing limits are highest in D.C., Colorado and Alaska. Under the rules in all locations, adults may grow and keep the products of up to six plants at home; three of them may be mature.
- Up to an ounce of the plant can be provided as a gift in Washington, D.C., Alaska, Colorado and Oregon.
- Voter approval for legalization was higher in D.C. than in any of the states that legalized. Here are the results: D.C.: 64.9%; Oregon: 56.1%; Washington: 55.7%; Colorado: 55.3%; Alaska: 53.2%
Unlike the states that have approved legal marijuana, Washington, D.C. has very few regulations beyond the basics already mentioned. In December 2014, Congress denied D.C. funds to regulate the industry assuming this would stop legalization; it did not.
Other states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. For instance, Delaware passed legislation that decriminalizes the private use of up to an ounce of marijuana, replacing penalties with a civil fine, and other states have passed medical marijuana laws allowing for limited use of cannabis. Others states have passed laws allowing residents to possess cannabis oil if they suffer from certain medical illnesses with Georgia signing a law legalizing the possession of up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil.