Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia are the only U.S. jurisdictions in which marijuana is currently legal for adult use.

Unless otherwise specified, the following information is specific to the laws in the states where marijuana is currently legal for adults. It should not be applied to any states in which marijuana is still illegal.

We should also mention that 23 states (including Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) and the District of Columbia have adopted laws that allow people with certain debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

Who is allowed to use marijuana?

It is legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana. This includes state/district residents and adults visiting from other states. 

How much marijuana am I allowed to possess?

Alaska: Adults 21 years of age and older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana and up to six marijuana plants. They can also possess any amount of marijuana produced by those plants in the residence where it was grown.

Colorado: Adults 21 years of age and older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana and up to six marijuana plants. They can also possess any amount of marijuana produced by those plants in the residence where it was grown. 

District of Columbia: Adults 21 years of age and older can possess up to two ounces of marijuana and up to six marijuana plants. They can also possess any amount of marijuana produced by those plants in the residence where it was grown. 

Oregon: Adults 21 years of age and older can possess up to eight ounces of marijuana and up to four marijuana plants. They can also possess any amount of marijuana produced by those plants in the residence where it was grown.

Washington: Adults 21 years of age and older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It is still illegal to possess any number of marijuana plants. 

How do I legally obtain marijuana?

From Retail Marijuana Stores: In Colorado and Washington, adults 21 years of age and older with a valid form of photo ID can purchase marijuana and marijuana-related products in licensed marijuana retail stores. Alaska and Oregon are currently in the process of creating a regulated system of retail marijuana stores.

From Another Adult:  In all four states and D.C., adults 21 years of age and older can give up to one ounce of marijuana to other adults 21 years of age and older as long as it does not require any form of compensation. It is illegal to sell (or re-sell) any amount of marijuana without a business license.

Home Growing:  In Alaska, Colorado, and D.C., adults 21 years of age and older are allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants (including up to three mature/flowering plants) in an enclosed, locked space.  

In Oregon, adults 21 years of age and older are allowed to grow up to four marijuana plants per residence.

In Washington, it is illegal to cultivate any amount of marijuana without an official business license.

Where am I allowed to consume marijuana?

It is legal for adults to consume marijuana privately, such as inside residences, although some property owners or homeowners associations may have policies that prohibit it. It is illegal to consume marijuana in public places, such as on streets and sidewalks or in 
public parks. It is also illegal to consume marijuana on federal land. Violating public use laws could result in fines and other legal penalties.

In some Colorado localities, such as Denver, it is legal to consume marijuana openly at a residence — such as in the backyard or outside on a porch or balcony — as long as the property owner allows it. In other localities it is illegal to consume in view of the general public, so be sure to check your local laws. In Washington, it is illegal to consume or display marijuana anywhere in view of the general public.

Because these are new laws, there are still some questions regarding what constitutes “private” versus “public.” Therefore, you should exercise caution and check your local laws prior to consuming marijuana in any place that might be construed as public, such as hotel rooms or privately-owned businesses that are open to the public.

Can I travel with marijuana?

It is illegal to take any amount of marijuana across state lines, and doing so could result in significant legal penalties. It is legal to drive with marijuana in your car as long as it is in its original sealed packaging. We recommend keeping it in your trunk to avoid any possibility of it being considered an “open container.”

Is it legal to drive after consuming marijuana?

It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana and can result in serious legal penalties.  

Similar to a 0.08 blood-alcohol limit, both states have established a legal limit of 5 ng/ml of THC in whole blood. Colorado has a “rebuttable presumption” law, which means you are presumed to be impaired if you have 5 ng/ml of THC in your blood, but allows you to rebut that presumption in court. Washington has a “per se” law, which means you are automatically defined as impaired if you have 5 ng/ml of THC or more in your blood.

See the Know Your Responsibility section to find out how you can avoid driving while under the influence of marijuana.

Can I lose my job or face other collateral consequences for using marijuana?

Unfortunately, employers can still fire adults for responsible off-the-job marijuana use. We recommend learning about your employer’s policy prior to consuming marijuana.

Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, using it can result in loss of certain benefits, such as public housing assistance and college financial aid.